From The Pantry To The Community

Salvation Army workers, community volunteers and resource center volunteers organize products from Wegmans deliveries to fill the pantry’s shelves. P-J photo by Meghan Siperek

As the Salvation Army’s pantry doors were about to open, families lined up at the door to receive a food package.

Some would receive a three-day emergency package that was meant to supply a family with food until they had enough money to buy more groceries. Others were there for the fresh bread and produce that was just delivered from Wegmans. Lastly, they could have been picking up a food express package, a few items here and there that help families get by a little better during hard times.

Even though it may seem as though the pantry is doing great with its almost fully-stocked shelves — thanks to the recent post office deliverers drive — there still isn’t a huge surplus of food.

That’s when the food pantry steps in. The pantry is meant as a backup to provide families or individuals with enough food to get by for the last few days of the month, or until more money is available. And yes, the food pantry does try its best to supply variety and easy meals. Unfortunately, there is never enough to fill the shelves of the pantry, let alone the shelves of one’s home who is in need.

When one thinks of the food bank, they shouldn’t only think of food, however. There is a major demand for personal hygiene items, “simple meals,” and just everyday items that a person may need for survival.

“The number one item that is requested for donation by the Salvation Army pantry is toilet paper,” according to Liz Lopez, basic needs coordinator at the Food Pantry. “It is something that every person needs, and something that every person takes advantage of.”

The Salvation Army is always in need of volunteers to help sort, run and organize food deliveries and for when people come to pick up their food packages. It is the Salvation Army’s mission to make coming to the pantry feel as real as grocery shopping as they can. However, at times, it gets harder when there is a surplus of one item and not another to complete an entire meal.

The next time that you’re out grocery shopping or just heading into town, consider picking up an extra box of Mac and Cheese, buy another jar of jelly, or grab a pack of toilet paper for someone who truly needs it. Just a few items a week from each home can help those in need and keep the community’s food pantry ready for any emergency or any situation that could come their way. Or go to the pantry yourself and see what it is all about. Volunteer some time, donate everyday items and food and be aware that there are people in the community that need help surviving, and you can be that help.

The food pantry is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3:30 p.m. To help, contact Liz Lopez at 664-4108, or by email at Elizabeth.Lopez@use.salvationarmy.org.

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