ALLENTOWN: Borough Food Pantry searching for volunteers

Local food pantries are there for people at their most dire time of need, especially during the holiday season.

by Amy Batista, Special Writer
ALLENTOWN — Local food pantries are there for people at their most dire time of need, especially during the holiday season.
   However, the Allentown Food Pantry is also in need — of volunteers.
   ”We need people who can commit to two hours a week, or who would be available as a substitute,” said Dawn Koetting in an email to the Messenger Press.
   The borough food pantry was established in its present form approximately 10 years ago and is run by volunteers.
   Food was originally distributed to those in need through the Allentown Good Neighbor Fund roughly 30 years ago, Ms. Koetting said.
   ”Clients can come once a week and will be allowed to fill one bag of food from the shelves,” said Ms. Koetting. “Our clients enjoy fresh produce provided through the Seeds of Faith Garden, local farmers, Farmers against Hunger and the FoodBank.”
   The food pantry is housed at the Allentown Presbyterian Church, located at 20 High Street.
   Ms. Koetting said the pantry receives food from the state and federal government, which includes chicken and eggs.
   ”Clients are allowed to take the government items once a month,” she said. “The other three weeks each month they can only receive donated items. We also are able to purchase some items through the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties at a very reasonable rate, allowing us to stretch our donation dollars as much as possible.”The community has been very generous in supporting the pantry at this time of year,” said added.
   Such instances of support include the Four Seasons community held their annual “Trick or Treat” to benefit the Allentown Food Pantry in October. Half of the event’s proceeds were donated to the pantry.
   In addition, Soles for the Harvest collected food and money for the pantry.
   Similarly, the Allentown Boy Scouts annual community food drive was held the first weekend in November. The schools, local churches and other organizations all bring in large quantities of food, she said.
   The pantry is open each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
   The food pantry is also open the second Monday of each month around 9:30 a.m.
   The pantry seeks volunteers to help bring the approximately 4,000 pounds of food that is delivered by truck.
   In addition, volunteers are sought to mark each case of food with the date received as well as to help organize pantry shelves.
   For more information on how you can help, call 609-259-7289.