Meet some of the volunteers who provide Thanksgiving meals in Franklin County

Amber South
Chambersburg Public Opinion

Linda Strickler and her team of volunteers have been lending a helping hand for the past decade. 

Strickler runs the food pantry based at Faith United Methodist Church, located at 104 N. Potomac St. in Waynesboro. 

“It’s very rewarding, and we get to meet some wonderful people who just need a helping hand,” she said. “Some have been coming for a long time while others for a short period. All of our volunteers are church members, and many others of them have been involved for many years; we all take it very seriously.” 

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While the food pantry operates year-round, Thanksgiving is a busy time for the faith-based organization. Volunteers recently handed out bags containing items for holiday meals. 

Sandy Hospelhorn volunteers at Waynesboro First United Methodist Church food pantry.

“We give households the option of a turkey, a ham, a roasting chicken or pork loin. We have a lot of single seniors that we serve so we give options because they might not want to cook a whole turkey," Strickler said. 

Around the holiday season, as many have to make decisions on what to purchase or how to make ends meet, volunteers around Franklin County are offering help.

And the pantry is there to help ease the burden. 

“They are so thankful. You can tell by their attitude," said volunteer Bev Flegel. "It’s a blessing to help people."

According to Strickler, the organization serves around 70 households monthly with close to 200 registered. “Some people don’t come that often, but we’re always here when they come back and are in need,” she said. 

“As a faith community outreach ministry, and as Christians and people of faith it is our calling that we are to help the community and lend a helping hand. Having the pantry as an option allows households to use their funds for other things.” 

Waynesboro First United Methodist Church food pantry volunteers, from left, Sue Frutiger, Joanne Thompson, Linda Strickler, Gary Strickler, Bev Flegel, Ron Flegel and Sandy Hospelhorn are pictured here in one of the pantry rooms at the Waynesboro church.

Like the volunteers at the Waynesboro church, folks at a church in Chambersburg work to be good neighbors to all. At New Guilford Brethren in Christ Church, the annual Thanksgiving meal helps drive that mission. 

Around 30 to 40 people – members of the congregation and some family members – will spend at least a few hours of their holiday serving about 200 people turkey and the fixings. Some will put in work the day before, working in the kitchen and making sure everything is ready to go for the big show. 

“Part of our mission statement is to serve the community in the name of Jesus. This is part of who we feel we are,” Pastor Lawton Jacobs said.

This will be the fourth year New Guilford BIC will serve up a free Thanksgiving meal. Jacobs had initially reached out to another local church to ask if there was anything his congregation could do to help, but it turned out that church was ending its Thanksgiving program. So, he and his team got started planning to have their own dinner.

Jacobs’ favorite part about putting on the dinner is working in the kitchen.

“I like being there to help prepare the food,” he said.

Last year, Jacobs stepped up to help the delivery drivers, who were busier than ever since the dinner was served only by delivery and carry-out due to COVID-19. Dine-in will be back this year, but carry-out and delivery will still be options for pre-orders.

Jacobs hopes outreach such as the Thanksgiving dinner helps people who aren’t close with the church still feel like they can reach out if they need help.

“I like really the idea of us being a community-oriented church, a place where people, even if they don’t attend here regularly, see us as part of a community and would feel comfortable giving us a call.”

How to access the food pantry

With COVID-19 precautions in place, the food pantry at Faith United has extended its hours to Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. and Thursday from 9-11 a.m. 

“Anyone in need in the Waynesboro area is welcome to come," Strickler said. “The only things we ask is proof of residency in the area, as well as a self-declaration of need form.” 

Items available include frozen meats, all kinds of canned and dry goods as well as weekly produce ranging from potatoes and cauliflower to watermelon. 

For more information about the church and the food pantry, visit faithumcway.susumc.org.

Get a Thanksgiving meal at New Guilford BIC

While 24-hour notice was required for carry-out and delivery meals, anyone can stop in to have a Thanksgiving meal at the church. 

It will be served 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The church is located at 1575 Mont Alto Road, Chambersburg.