Story and Pictures by Mark Ziobro | Managing Editor
Utica, NY — It was a blistering 90 degrees in Utica today, but that didn’t stop local groups from partnering and handing out free pizza and water to people in need.
Musician G-Swiss partnered with The Rescue Mission and Food 4 Hunger in brining the event to the streets of Utica. Pizza and water weren’t the only things being handed out in Oneida Square today. Conversations and smiles also adorned the sidewalks, where many people came to beat the heat and find some much-needed sustenance.
Talking to the members of Food 4 Hunger, one could see that this event was not just a one-off, but a way of life. Nick and Dana Bridenbecker, who run the organization, started out as a small pantry — run out of a van — to donate food to the elderly and to food pantries in Herkimer and Utica.
While today’s heat precluded Food 4 Hunger from their usual style of delivering a wood oven pizza product (Little Caesar’s pizza was on hand for this event), it didn’t stop their spirt. Nick explained that Food 4 Hunger started out of the Covid-19 pandemic. He and his wife, Dana, contracted Covid, and were able to pull through it with the help of family, friends, and a robust support network.
Food 4 Hunger opened started in February 2021 as a way to provide support to people who really need it, and so far have aided people in both Herkimer and Oneida countries.
“We’re new to the scene,” Nick said, “but we have big hearts. It’s nice to give back.”
Today’s partnership between Food 4 Hunger, The Rescue Mission, and G-Swiss is definitely not a one-and-done. G-Swiss commented there will be more events in Utica in the coming weeks, and Nick stated Food 4 Hunger will be having an event on Hopper St. in Utica as part of a fundraiser they are organizing.
At the time of this writing, today’s event had started at 12:30 PM and was scheduled to go until supplies ran out.