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Food pantry is here to help thanks to generosity

To the editor:

Thank you for providing this forum to express appreciation and share information. These are the two purposes of this letter.

A sure sign that fall is approaching at the Juniata County Food Pantry is the end of the Summer Backpack Program and the excitement of holiday planning. Our sixth annual Backpack Program has just ended with the distribution of backpacks and school supplies. As with many plans of 2020, it has been challenging to provide services to our community’s students while navigating the pandemic. Though our model had to change, our mission remained the same: Feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. (paraphrase of Matthew 25:35)

From the early and unexpected end of the 2019-2020 school year, we have provided additional student bags of groceries to our pantry families. Our goal was to replace the school lunches that students were missing. In June, when we transitioned to the Summer Backpack Program, we continued to provide those bags to students older than the age of Backpack Program students. These endeavors allowed us to supplement the provisions for many families in a meaningful way.

Even without being able to host our annual “Stuff the Bus” kick-off events, our student program was certainly not forgotten by the community. Without the continuing support of so many individuals and churches, our program could not have provided the variety, quality, and quantity of food items that were made available.

Heartfelt thanks go to these and many anonymous donors of food items, financial support, backpacks, and school supplies:

Jim & Brenda Clark, William & Linda O’Brien, Deb Yingling, Sandra Miller, Sue Lukens, Sam & Linda Leister, Don & Kathy Hoffman, Treva Seiler, Bob & Pat Davis, Mary Grimm, Sandra & George Snyder, Lucinda Gesselman, Randy & Dawn Sheaffer, The Guilfoyle Family, Connie Yocum, James & Jean Fogle, Steve & Jan Manbeck, William Alton Lauver, Pat Henry, Rose Hockenbroch, Jane Wolfgang-Price, Sayda Diaz, Westminster United Presbyterian Sunday School, Bunkertown Church of the Brethren, Otterbein United Methodist Church, Thompsontown Baptist Church, East Salem United Methodist Church, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, and Brown’s United Methodist Church.

My second goal of this letter is to provide information concerning access to the Juniata County Food Pantry’s service. As we have all watched television news showing long lines at food banks throughout our country, our food pantry wants to be certain that anyone in Juniata County who is food insecure avails him/herself of our service. The limit for take-home pay for a family of two is $2,155/month. For larger families, add $560/person for each additional family member. No referral is needed; only proof of income and residency. Also, anyone may request a one-time emergency order of groceries if in need.

As a result of the generosity of this community and the Department of Agriculture Commodities distributions, the Juniata County Food Pantry is well-stocked and prepared to meet the needs of everyone in Juniata County. Please call (717) 436-9718 to request more information and/or to make an appointment. Pantry hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Answering machine messages can be left at any time, and replies will be made during open hours.

The Juniata County Food Pantry has and will continue to serve the community throughout the pandemic. CDC and Pa. Department of Health guidelines have been followed. Many accommodations have been instituted to keep our families and our volunteers safe.

If you or anyone you know needs pantry service, please call, or share this information.

Thank you to all who continue to support the mission of the Juniata County Food Pantry!

Patricia E. Brown

Treasurer and Summer

Backpack Program Coordinator

Juniata County Food Pantry

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