Tai Shaw, who runs a food pantry from the back of his business CNY Uniforms Plus in Syracuse, oversaw the distribution of hundreds of boxes of food this weekend, mostly to New American families.

The Winter Food Distribution event organized by Shaw’s nonprofit CNY Blessing Box is in its third year. In the first year, the group distributed 98 boxes. The distribution this year happened Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

“Hunger has no color,” Shaw said of the message of the event. “We feed anyone, no matter their status or color.

Shaw, with workers and volunteers, expected to serve at least 300 families from across the globe. They color-coordinated boxes by regional origin and religion, to be sure recipients got ingredients they are able to eat and familiar cooking with, Shaw said.

He said one of his goals of the event was not just to provide food, but “food dignity.”

“We want to be careful to meet their needs and make them feel included,” Shaw said.

Boxes this year included dentist kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss, and more than 20 items for each family, including salt from Syracuse Salt Co.

This year’s sponsors included The Gifford Foundation, Food Bank of Central New York, Central New York Community Foundation, New American Forum, Eastwood Rotary and Chase Bank. The event had about two dozen sponsors overall.

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Julie McMahon is editor-in-chief of Central Current. She's lived and worked in Syracuse as a reporter, editor and professor of journalism for more than a decade. Contact Julie at jmcmahon@centralcurrent.org.