THE BREAD OF LIFE FOOD PANTRY
MAKING LIFE BETTER IN THE BEST OF TIMES AND THE WORST OF TIMES
by Elaine Corrington
HURLEYVILLE, June 2020—In any community, there are always people who need help.
Whether because of bad luck, bad health, loss of jobs, unexpected problems, or maybe even predictable shortcomings, people sometimes fall on hard times. And now, on top of that, a pandemic has left many jobless and struggling.
The Bread of Life Food Pantry in Hurleyville has offered the assistance needed by individuals and families continuously, cheerfully, and generously for many years. Local organizations, townships, corrections officers, and students have generously supported those efforts. What started with one small rolling cart so many years ago—and that cart is still being used– and a person or two once a week, now takes the entire back hall at the Hurleyville United Methodist Church and has 25-30 people helping regularly. Many others pitch in when needed to acquire, sort, pack, and distribute the food.
What started with whatever food was donated, now works at first providing the foods that support good health, and then the occasional surprise treats and necessities of household life that may not be available or affordable- especially at the end of the month when many have run out of money.
Katrina Jaycox grew up in Fallsburg, but had close ties with Hurleyville because her grandmother, Carrie DeGraw lived on Main Street, just a short distance from the site of the Food Pantry. Her grandmother and Ginny Maxwell started the idea of the Food Pantry in Hurleyville. Her sister, Cookie, dropped in as we were talking, with a delivery of waffles for the next distribution. Lonnie Lindsey takes care of all of the ordering and distributes the food at the door by the driveway at the side behind the sanctuary. She has a safety barrier made from an old golf cart shield that became available at the golf course where her husband works.
During these perilous times, face shields are distributed to the people who are picking up what they need, along with boisterous assurances that keeping everybody healthy depends on their consistent use. Behind the distribution shield, there is an entire room filled with large tables holding more than 60 boxes prepared for the next distribution.
Distributions are held on the last two Thursday afternoons of the month, as that is when money is typically in much shorter supply for many. Each family fills out a request that enable the workers to pack enough food in each box to meet the needs of that family. Many of the volunteers are from the Church, which generously donates the space for the boxes as well as for refrigerators, freezers and the shelving needed to organize the items for distribution.
Several individuals and organizations regularly help with all facets of the project, but the hours can be long and the work heavy and tiring. Many of the people who need the supplies do not have cars or rides and must make several trips to get everything they need. Personal hygiene items were generously donated and sorted into bags that will help households and people stay clean and healthy.
There are a number of items of which they often don’t have enough to serve everyone, so the volunteers collect those items until they have enough. This includes such things as jars of condiments rather than individual servings, jams, jellies, pancake syrup, and spaghetti sauce. Feminine hygiene products are another appreciated donation.
Right now there is so much time and effort that must be used for these necessary items that donations of clothing are not being accepted because there is just no time to take care of them. When things are quieter, the Bread of Life Pantry also helps people with furniture and household needs.
When the pandemic recedes, the people involved with the great immediate needs will be happy to use their location to go back to some of the health education opportunities they love to present, including such opportunities as support groups and flu vaccinations. Right now, there is great satisfaction, and joy involved in knowing that people in Hurleyville care about their families, neighbors, friends and fellow residents and that they know their efforts are making a heartfelt felt difference.
THE BREAD OF LIFE FOOD PANTRY