North Country School students and staff with Linda Young of Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry

By Andy Flynn
Posted: December 28, 2023

LAKE PLACID — Students and staff from North Country School and Camp Treetops delivered 48 dozen more eggs from their farm to the Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry in the basement of St. Agnes Church on Thursday, Dec. 21.

It was just in time; the food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon every Friday.

“I wish you were here to take the expression on their faces,” Young told the egg deliverers. “When they see eggs, they’re like, ‘We’ve got eggs!’ … It’s a big deal. It really is. … It’s gold. I’ve always said that about the eggs because it’s fresh and it’s protein.”

Young predicted that the eggs would be gone the following day, as the food pantry serves up to 70 families each week.

“And that’s not including if we come out and do an extra call here and there and during the week,” she said.

Unlike other food pantries in the Tri-Lakes Region, the Lake Placid food pantry doesn’t limit the amount of times a family can get food there. In Tupper Lake, for example, families can only order food twice a month.

The school’s donation on Dec. 21 builds upon the 20 dozen eggs that had already been delivered. In all, 153 dozen eggs — that’s 1,836 eggs — will be donated this year as part of the school’s Giving Tuesday pledge on Nov. 28. For each donation, the school/camp matches it with a dozen eggs for the local food pantry. The 153 donations exceeded this year’s goal of 130, and it’s the largest egg donation since the program began several years ago.

Barn Manager Erica Burns said the school has about 120 chickens on its farm that lay about 95 eggs a day. After filling a refrigerator with eggs at the food pantry, she opened a container to reveal a dozen eggs with different colors: light and dark brown, green and white.

“They are different colors because they are different breeds of chickens,” Burns explained. “We have a variety of chickens in our flock. … We raise some that produce a lot of eggs a year, like 320 eggs a year. But it’s really wonderful having different colored eggs.”

The chicken breeds include Leghorns, Barred Rocks, Sapphire Gems and Speckled Sussex.

“We also have some Olive Eggers, which are where the green come from,” Burns said.

The school buys different breeds for different reasons. Some, for example, are nicer with the students, who are required to perform barn chores on a regular basis. The school is a boarding and day school for students in grades 4 through 9.

“Some of the birds are more of a dual-purpose bird,” Burns said. “So when we go to harvest them, a lot of the brown eggs come from the Barred Rocks. And the birds, when we go to harvest them at about 18 months, there’s a little more meat on their bones. So the Leghorns we’re harvesting, they’re producing the most number of eggs, but when we put them in the soup pot, they produce the least amount of meat and stock and broth.”

With the mix of breeds, the school is guaranteed to have a high yield of eggs over the course of the year and, when it’s time to harvest the chickens, there’s meat and stock and broth that goes into the freezers.

Still, with all the eggs harvested at the school, it’s not enough to feed the staff, faculty, students and campers. Therefore, they also have to buy eggs for their kitchen to meet the demand. The school is currently on break; therefore, it can afford to give away 152 dozen eggs to the food pantry during the holiday season.

The delivery team included Farm Intern Matu Wamae, Barn Manager Erica Burns, Sarah Perry of Advancement Support, Communications Director Stanzi Bliss and students Evalyn Burns, and Eleanor and Wyatt Lustberg.

L-R Evalyn (NCS grade 4), Erica Burns (NCS Barn Manager), Linda Young, Director Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry, Sarah Perry (NCS 09), Eleanor (NCS grade 6) and Wyatt (NCS grade 9)

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