Church-run pantry continues to serve local community

Sentinel photo by ERIN THOMPSON Tom Beaver, a volunteer with Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, stocks shelves at the pantry.

LEWISTOWN — Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard served more than 3,600 local individuals in 2017 and its organizers hope to continue to improve services to those in need.

The pantry, which is organized by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and operates solely on donations and by volunteers, released its annual report recently, which found that it served 1,345 families, comprising of 3,626 individuals last year.

The report found that the pantry served 55 new families and 139 new individuals last year.

Additionally, Mary Beth Pietropaolo, office manager for the pantry, said that generous donations from the public have made it possible to serve the public more often.

The pantry went from handing out food to families once every three months to once every other month. Volunteers would eventually like to be able to offer food even more often, possibly every six weeks, she said.

The pantry serves local individuals who meet certain financial qualifications.

Pietropaolo, who has managed the office for about five years, said that during her time there, there has been an increase in the number of clients the pantry each year.

“I think it’s the economy and the unemployment rate,” she said, adding that certain times of the year — especially around the holidays — are busier than others.

“It is very sad, but we are very fortunate that we have some larger corporations donate hams and turkeys during the holidays so we can put together as many bags as we can.”

Pietropaolo said bag size given is based on the sizes of the family.

The pantry, she said, would not be able to function without the help of volunteers and donors.

“We are fortunate to have a strong unity of fundraisers. Boy Scouts, the police department, churches, high schools and food drives are very important and really really help us,” she said.

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard also offers a pet pantry monthly for eligible participants.

When clients are particularly in need, Pietropaolo said volunteers are able to refer information on other local resources.

“We’re not just a food pantry, we are also a basket of knowledge for them.”

The pantry is also seeking substitute volunteers who can fill in on an as-needed basis.

Pantry hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 3 to 6 p.m. Friday.

Those interested in making a donation or volunteering may do so by calling the pantry at (717) 248-2506 or St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at (717) 248-8327.

Pastor John T. Harwood, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, wished to thank faithful volunteers who helped the pantry maintain its success last year.

“Time and time again, we hear amazement about the magnitude of this ministry in Lewistown. None of it would be possible without the generosity of the people that have designated MHC as their opportunity to make a difference in our community. To these individuals, organizations, and churches, we express our deep gratitude,” he said in an email message.

In 2017, the pantry was supported by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, as well as the following individuals and organizations: All American Cruisers, Allensville Planing Mill, Arby’s in Milroy, Linda Boss, Boy Scouts of America (Cub Scouts), Ronald Colwell, Community Resources for Independence, Hunter Corbin, Steve Dunkle, Ed’s Trains, Frank Enterline, Jay Finkbiner, Linda Flanagan, Ashley Fultz, John and Bonnie Gallagher, Carleen and Robert Grossman, Dave Harmon, Sharon Havice, Barbary Henry, Nikki Hidlay, Juniata Valley Bank, Forrest and Joan Kerstetter, Key Club, Kish Bank, Krautkramer (Aerotech), Darlene Kress, Ed and Nancy Lerch, Lewistown Police, Marsha Maines and Maines Roofing, Walter and Virginia Malcolm, Patricia Mannino, MC Wrestling Team, MC School Retirees, MCSD Student Activity Fund, Heidi Plebani Murphy, John and Connie Nanas, Larry Niemond, Thomas and Marjorie Noerr, Northwest Bank, Sis Norton, (knitted children’s hats), PA Lions, District 14L, Region 4, Joyce Pecht, Ivan Pecht, Alan Peters, Philips Electronics, Pierson Computing Connection, Adam Pietropaolo, Mary Beth Pietropaolo, Ian Presscott, Stephen Reeder, Susan K. Richard, SAM Inc., Scotty’s Taxi, Rosalie Smith, Nancy Snook, Wilbur O. Sourbeck, Art Spicer, James and Joanne Stuck, Kathie Tice, Deb Vaughn, Charles and Helen Warfel, Robin White, Women’s Service Club and the Yeagertown Volunteer Fire Company.

The following churches were also generous supporters: Allensville Mennonite Church, Bannerville Church of the Brethren, Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Inc, East Kishacoquillas Presbyterian Church, Ellen Chapel, F.V. Brethren in Christ, First Baptist Church, First Church of the Brethren, First United Methodist Church (Crop Walk), Freedom Avenue Methodist Church, Grace United Methodist Church, Granville Methodist Church, Grove Memorial Church, Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Lake Park Methodist Church, Lewistown Assembly of God, Lewistown Presbyterian Church, Maitland Church of the Brethren, Maple Grove Mennonite Women, Mattawana Mennonite Church (Willing Workers), Parkview Church of the Brethren, Siglerville Congregational Church, Spring Run Church of the Brethren, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. John’s Lutheran Church (Barnabas Brothers), St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Third Street Lutheran (Crop Walk), Trinity United Church of Christ, Trinity United Methodist Church, United Methodist – Schrader, Vira United Methodist Church, Wagner United Methodist Church, Walnut Street United Methodist Church, Wayne United Methodist Church, and the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.

Volunteers include Tom Beaver, of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Susan Blazer, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Brenda Funk, of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bill Goss of First Baptist Church and Locust Grove Mennonite, Wayne Hannon, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Ann Hetrick, of St. John’s Lutheran, Lillian Myers, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Mary Beth Pietropaolo, of First Presbyterian Church, Galen Stees, of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Kathie Tice, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.