NEW BETHLEHEM, PA. (RVO) by Helen Toy –
When news of the coronavirus hit the airwaves, we immediately began requiring masks be worn inside the food pantry and rearranged the space to allow only one client inside at a time. We also installed a plexiglass shield at the registration table.
Some of the volunteers who were more vulnerable to illness decided to alleviate fears their families had by suspending their work at the pantry. Also, we lost two volunteers in death, but God has blessed the food pantry with others who saw the need. One of the newer volunteers said, “I’m younger than some of the others who were helping, and I’m healthy. I thought I should step in so they could stay safe.” It is wonderful to see such a good team of volunteers working so well together.
During May and June, Second Harvest Food Bank suggested we have a drive-through distribution. In July, they again required the more thorough registration credentials which made us go back to in-person service. Because of the surge in virus cases, in December we decided to go back to drive-through.
We have been quite pleased with the generosity that keeps us functioning. United Way of Clarion County and Bridge Builders Community Foundations gave a donation that helped purchase a large cooler to replace a smaller old one that had quit working. A more recent donation has not yet been used. Their gift also aided in the purchase of produce from the local Farmers’ Market and from local farms. The Farmers’ Market vendors did their best to provide the produce we needed, and Musser’s Fruit Farm gave us a discount. Contributions to the RVCA Turkey Fund supplied turkeys for Thanksgiving, and the money given for the Chamber of Commerce Autumn Leaf Festival Foodstock would have supplied ham for Christmas, but shortages caused us to give pork roasts instead.
Other donations have been made by the Knights of Columbus, churches, scout groups, and schools (especially the Future Farmers of America at the high school and the primary and intermediate schools of Redbank Valley. Corporations such as Smuckers and Riverside have donated food, and there have also been memorial gifts and donations from individuals.
Although there have not been big changes in the number of families at this time, we always try to be ready for possible fluctuations.
The RVCA Food Pantry will continue to need financial support and the work done by faithful volunteers. Friends and neighbors can help those who may be in need by letting them know about the food pantry and by offering to help them if they have no way of getting food from the pantry to their home.
Monetary donations may be sent to RVCA Food Pantry, P.O. Box 75, New Bethlehem, PA 16242. Food donations may be delivered to the food pantry when volunteers are there on the morning of the first Wednesday of each month, the morning of the second Tuesday, or almost all day on the third Tuesday of each month. Other times may be arranged by calling 814-319-8564. Adults who wish to volunteer may come to the food pantry at the times listed above or by calling to find out what is needed. Donations may be made on-line at the RVCA website: https://www.rvchurchassociation.org/food-pantry/
For the latest updates, follow the Redbank Valley Church Association and Food Pantry Facebook pages.