CAN I PARTICIPATE?
We Service Pittston, Pittston Twp, Avoca, Dupont, Duryea, Laflin, Hughestown, Jenkins Township, West Pittston, Falls, Harding, Exeter, Exeter Township, Wyoming and West Wyoming.
A few years back, the Care and Concern Committee at St. John the Evangelist formed, and the main thrust of the committee was to reach out to the community to give a helping hand. One idea that came to fruition was forming the Free Health Clinic that kicked off a year ago and is doing extremely well.
Burke, after reading and being inspired by the book, "Take This Bread," lobbied for a food pantry to help low-income families of Greater Pittston. A food pantry collects and stores food and household products for free distribution to the needy.
She knew why she wanted this project for Greater Pittston, she just didn't know how to go about getting one started. "The Trucksville United Methodist Food Bank has been in existence for 30- years, so we modeled our food bank after theirs," Burke said.
With the backing of the Care and Concern Committee, the Greater Pittston Food Pantry (GPFP) was born, with Burke as coordinator. The pantry will operate under the Commission on Economic Opportunity's (CEO) guidelines at the site of the former Seton Catholic High School Building on Williams Street, Pittston.
"We are following the guidelines of the CEO's Weinberg Food Bank which distributes food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Surplus Food program," Burke said. The GPFP will service Pittston, Pittston Township, Avoca, Dupont, Duryea, Hughestown,
Jenkins Township, Laflin, West Pittston, Falls, Harding, Exeter, Exeter Township, Wyoming and West Wyoming.
Under the guidelines, families who fall below 150% of the Federal Government's poverty rate qualify for assistance. The Federal Government adjusts the Income Guidelines each year of the current poverty rate.
"After having an article published in the Sunday Dispatch about our food pantry, many people called and before we knew it we had 40 volunteers to help out," Burke said. The volunteers were trained over the next few weeks for the grand opening in the first week in November. "We planned to distribute the food and items with a goal of 20 families per week with food pick-up scheduled for Thursday mornings."
Burke, a retired registered dietician, will provide nutritional information to families with the hope of educating all on proper nutrition. Food to be distributed will be: soups/stews/complete meals, juices, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, canned ham and tuna, pasta, rice, bread, grains, cereal, crackers, pancake mix, nutri-grain bars, beverages (carbonated and non), snacks, cookies and desserts as well as condiments of any sort.
The GPFP will also be distributing non-food items such as paper products, cleaning supplies, health and beauty, and diapers and baby items.
The GPFP will be accepting non-perishable food from public donations as well monetary contributions. If you do plan on donating, please check the expiration dates on food items.
"If you have a family income according to the income guidelines and live in the encompassing area, you then qualify for assistance," said Burke. The GPFP will be by appointment only, no walk-ins please. The number to call for an appointment is 654-9923.