Demand grows for food pantry

PAT FRIDGEN
Manitowoc Crane made a monetary donation to the food pantry at Greencastle Presbyterian Church. The $189 came from a 50/50 drawing during a monthly social event. Pictured from left: Sharon Bair, Manitowoc HR representative; Lauren Hay and Alissa Garlitz, students; Marie Wolff and Dortha Kipe, volunteers; Bryan Larew, student; Ed Miller, Manitowoc Manager of Plant Engineering; and Peggy DeWire, pantry coordinator. Manitowoc also holds a big food drive every spring for the food pantry.

Usage is up at the South Central Community Action Programs food pantry in Greencastle. SCCAP local coordinator Peggy DeWire said 84 familes are now served each  month, and it used to be 60.

The people receiving food packages often have lost their jobs or are on disability.

"Those that are laid off, you can tell this is the last place they want to be," she said during a distribution day at Greencastle Presbyterian Church. "And sad to say, some senior citizen clients live only on Social Security."

Nevetheless, her message to the public was loud and clear. "We're here if they need us."

The church center is open Mondays from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and the second and third Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. It is open to residents of the Greencastle-Antrim School District, and the only qualification is to register with a proof of address.

The state agency in Harrisburg distributes food, getting as far as Chambersburg. Volunteers drive there to get supplies for Greencastle citizens. They also visit grocery stores to stock the shelves. Food Lion donates bakery, deli and produce items; Sunnyway Foods gives its best price on needed items; and Glenwood Foods orders in case quantities for DeWire. At times, farmers, orchardists and grocery truckers call with unexpected edible gifts.

Churches, businesses and service organizations conduct food drives to help out. The pantry volunteers shop locally and into Hagerstown to make their monetary donations stretch. Visitors receive food, and household and personal items. That includes a box of 20 items from the state shipment, two bags of donated goods, and a bag from Food Lion. Because the pantry has two freezers and a refrigerator, they also get food such as eggs, meat and cheese. A large family would get another box from the state.

Every other month the clients also get a food voucher from the Greencastle Ministerium to use at Kline's Grocery.

DeWire gets helps from dedicated assistants, including students from the Life Skills class at Greencastle-Antrim High School. They help package the food and deliver it to client's cars.

"They learn job skills to help them with future employment," said assistant teacher Sarah Harmon.

The work is rewarding. "I just love working here," said volunteer Marie Wolff.