When you meet Sister Betsey Van Deusen the first impression you get is she's tough to keep up with.
It's understandable given how busy she is these days as the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on the economy. Millions of people are out of work. Social safety nets spread thin. People on the margins can fall through the cracks.
Van Deusen is filling a need that's only been growing since March: feeding hungry families in Upstate New York.
She has been in service all her life, working with the needy and less fortunate. She says it’s a calling.
"I'm a sister of St. Joseph and so we are about service and we try to be engaged in the community and do things that matter," she said during a recent trip to a food pantry in Rensselaer County.
Over the last six months, Catholic Charities and affiliated organizations have distributed a million pounds of food to needy people in the greater Capital Region. They are holding food drives in cities, suburban towns and rural areas that can draw hundreds of cars.
Van Deusen last week paced around the parking lot of an office building left largely empty, with many of its workers no doubt at home in makeshift offices.
In a week, the parking lot would likely be filled with a long line of cars waiting for groceries. The events also provide other services, like voter registration.
It's a logistical feat to pull one of these events off. Cars and volunteers need to remain socially distant from each other.
"The challenge of COVID is volunteers need to be socially distant, not just people coming in," she said. "You cannot hold up the traffic."
These food distribution drives are often described as the bread lines of the 21st century as the need hasn't been this profound since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.
For Van Deusen, though, these are much more: a calling.