Food Pantry's Cupboard is Bare
OLS Food Pantry has a desperate need for food or money
The Our Lady of Sorrows food pantry has run out of food. Demand in the community is so high that the cupboard is bare.
Each Saturday morning, about 100 families are provided with food; volunteers spend the previous week packing brown paper grocery bags with cereal, a roll of paper towels or toilet paper, macaroni and cheese, pasta sauce, pasta, soup, canned vegetables, tuna, spam, peanut butter and jelly, and rice. Each family receives a bag and usually some extra items, as well. "We like to give personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant," explains a volunteer.
The pantry is, literally, that, a small room with shelves on two sides, and freezers at the far end. When people come on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., volunteers stand behind a Dutch door and serve them efficiently, handing over bags and checking for special requests. Often, the line of patrons stretches along the wall and out the Fourth Street door of the church.
OLS parishioners are regular contributors to the Food Pantry, but they also receive contributions of food and money from community groups including the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Elks, the CYO basketball teams, the Kiwanis of Maplewood, and the OLS Youth group. In addition, the monthly Rent Party funds both the OLS and St. Joseph's food pantries.
To satisfy the needs, volunteers shop weekly using donated money. In addition, individuals and groups are welcome to donate food. Besides that listed above, the pantry needs donations of coffee, boxed milk, and baking items. "All donations are greatly appreciated," say volunteers, and can be dropped off at the Fourth Street church entrance. Paper and plastic bags are also useful.
While most of the Saturday morning patrons arrive by car, others walk or bike to the church, a reminder that the food bank is close to home, and so is the need.
Checks can be made payable to Our Lady of Sorrows, note the Food Pantry, and sent to Our Lady of Sorrows, 217 Prospect St., So. Orange, NJ 07079.