After a year of growing need, food pantry provides holiday dinner packages

Milford. The number of people in Pike County who need help has risen 33 percent each month throughout the year. The food stamp crises will only make people in need more dependent on the pantry, volunteers say.

24 Dec 2019 | 10:04

The Ecumenical Food Pantry of Pike County provided special holiday dinner packages to 91 food-insecure families on Dec 20.

The packages included a turkey or ham and all the traditional fixings: stuffing, gravy, mashed and sweet potatoes, rolls, butter, a quart of milk, a half-dozen eggs, canned vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, pasta, and much more.

Pantry volunteers give a heartfelt thank you to the generous donors who made this possible.

Volunteers have noted steady increases in the number of people in Pike County who need help. The number has risen 33 percent each month of the year during this past year.

Jim and Pat Snodgrass and Bruce Baker said the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) crisis makes feeding people harder. They say more hungry people will rely on them now that the federal government is imposing new restrictions on SNAP.

90,000 Pennsylvanians may lose food stamps

Roughly 1.7 million Pennsylvanians receive food stamps through SNAP, including about 700,000 children, 690,000 people with disabilities, and 300,000 older adults. (Some of these groups overlap.)

Earlier this month, the Trump administration has enacted a rule and proposed two others that will limit access to SNAP.

Gov. Tom Wolf's Human Services Secretary, Teresa Miller, said 90,000 Pennsylvanians could lose eligibility in April when a new rule limits states from exempting work-eligible adults from having to maintain steady employment. Currently, the state determines which counties can be waived from work requirements based on local employment rates.

In October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed altering the method Pennsylvania uses to determine the Heating/Cooling Standard Utility Allowance, which considers utility costs when calculating a person’s monthly SNAP benefit.

In July, the USDA proposed eliminating Broad Based Categorical Eligibility for SNAP, which gives states the flexibility to determine income thresholds and extend SNAP benefits to low-income families and individuals who would otherwise struggle to afford food.

How you can help the pantry

There are several ways you can help the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Pike County:

Donate food: Drop off nonperishable items any time in the blue containers provided on its front porch at 321 5th Street in Milford. Drop off fresh produce and meat mid-day on Thursdays and Fridays, when volunteers are working at the pantry. Get in touch with the pantry director, Nancy Potter (570-618-1568 or pikefoodpantry@gmail.com), about contributing large or special donations.

Donate money: Funds are needed for such fixed expenses as insurance, electricity, garbage collection, exterminator services, and rent, and for supplemental foods when needed. Financial donations are tax-deductible and may be made with a check payable to the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Pike County and mailed to 321 5th Street, Milford, PA 18337. You can also donate online at goodshepherdmilford.org/food-pantry.

Donate time: The pantry is led and staffed entirely by volunteers directed by Nancy Potter from Good Shepherd Church. Volunteers pick up and sort donations, distribute food on Friday evenings, and help with publicity. Anyone interested may contact Nancy Potter at 570-618-1568 or pikefoodpantry@gmail.com.

Distribution sites:
Milford Ecumenical Food Pantry, 321 5th St., Milford, Fridays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Call 570-618-1568
Holy Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry, daily 9 a.m. to noon, 16 Delaware Crest Drive, Dingmans Ferry. Call 570-828-7411
Blooming Grove Food Pantry at St. John Neumann Church, third Thursday of the month at 9:30 a.m., 705 Route 739, Lords Valley. Call 570-775-6791
The Church at Hemlock Farms, third Monday of the month, 4-6:30 p.m. Hemlock Farms, corner of Willow and Lookout Drive. Call 570-775-6787 to register.
Lords Valley Community Church/Hands of Hope, second Thursday of the month, 2-6 p.m., 693 Route 739 Suite 2. Call 570-296-4673.
Paupack Methodist Church Pantry Loaves and Fishes, first Friday the month. Route 507, Greentown. Call 570-226-8322.
Greeley Good Cheer Food Pantry, St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 205 Route 590, Greeley. Call 570-226-3966 or 570-685-6270
Newfoundland Food Pantry, New Moravian Church, 982 Main St., Newfoundland, second Friday of the month. Call:570-676-8201
Bushkill Outreach, Lehman Township Community Park, 168 Lehman Park Drive, Bushkill, Tuesday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon (Middle Smithfield and Lehman Township residents only). Call 570-588-0660.
Community dinners:
United Methodist Church, 570-828-2288, 115 Myck Road, Dingmans Ferry. Third Saturday of the month from 5 to 7 p.m.
St. John Neumann, 570-775-6791, 705 Route 739 (next to the new Ryan’s Deli). First Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m.
St. Vincent De Paul, 570-686-4545, Route 739 (across from Ray and Charles Deli). Third Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m.
St. Patrick Church, 570 491 2488 (call ahead), High Street, Milford. Sponsored by Knights of Columbus. Fourth Sunday of the month, 2-4 p.m.