Edinboro food pantry continues to be valuable resource

Category:  News
Thursday, October 14th, 2021 at 3:01 PM
Edinboro food pantry continues to be valuable resource by Julia Carden
Natalie Messing from the Second Harvest Food Bank stands with volunteers outside of the Edinboro Food Pantry. Photo taken by Julia Carden

The Edinboro Food Pantry has been a valued resource for the local community for over 40 yearsThe organization is located on campus, on the first floor of Lawrence Towers B 

The Edinboro food pantry is an affiliate of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Second Harvest serves 11 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania: Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango and Warren. 

Natalie Messing, a representative from the Second Harvest Food Band, described the Edinboro pantry staff as, “wonderful,” and “hardworking.” 

According to Mary Weber, distribution manager, the Edinboro pantry has been of service to the community for over 40 years. Before moving on campus about seven years ago, it was originally located inside the Edinboro Borough Hall on Meadville Street.   

The pantry services individuals and families who live within the General McLane School District along with Cambridge Springs, PA whose annual income is less than $19,320. The pantry provides service to about 130 families each week.  

“Before COVID-19 we were serving between 200 and 300 families weekly, those numbers are down now,” Weber said.  

The pantry distributes boxes that include a mix of non-perishable food items, a bag which includes frozen snacks, fresh produce, milk, and meat, and other items including diapers, anti-perspirant, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, cleaning products and more. All items provided are free. The amount of items individuals receive depends on the number of members in that family. 

In order to receive items from the food pantry, individuals must confirm their address, ID, and their annual income. Once their information is approved, they are provided with food and other supplies each week.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, guests were invited into the building where they could select their food items and exchange items they wouldn’t use. Now, the boxes are pre-arranged for each family and loaded into vehicles by the volunteers. The Edinboro Food Pantry currently has between 15 and 20 volunteers.  

“We have a great crew out there,” she said. “Some weeks it pours with rain and they’re still willing to stand outside in the rain all day and load cars. And when it starts to snow, bless their hearts, they still show up.” 

Weber explained that around 95 percent of their inventory comes from the Second Harvest Food Bank. The remaining items are purchased by the volunteers and donated by the community.  

“We sometimes purchase things that we are having trouble getting. We buy fresh produce each week. Sometimes we will buy dish soap and cooking oil to keep those stocked. We try to cover all requirements, in children and adults.”  

The food pantry is open on Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Community members who are interested in volunteering or donating items to the Edinboro Food Pantry should contact the pantry directly at 814-732-3663 or come in-person on a Thursday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  

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