By ROBERT LINNEHAN
A local eatery is teaming with a humanitarian outreach program to provide food for the needy this holiday season. New York Bagel has been donating all of its uneaten bagels to the St. Michael Lutheran Church’s hospitality center each day for the past month and a half.
Typically the bakery donates about five or six dozen bagels a day, owner Kim Ahmed said. The bagels are baked fresh daily and at the end of the day a representative from the hospitality center picks them up, she said.
It’s a waste to just throw them out each day, Ahmed said, so why not donate the leftovers to a charitable organization that helps so many people in Cherry Hill?
“Times are tough. People need this, and you don’t just throw something away into the garbage can that people can eat,” she said. “I hope we can get people to donate more and to realize that one person can make a difference. We just want people to know that they can donate their food and not throw it away.”
Ahmed said she plans to continue donating each day for as long as she owns the bakery.
The hospitality center is open two days a week for those in need who wish to have a hot meal, a friendly ear to speak to, and even free medical screenings, chair of the Cherry Hill Food and Outreach Council Beth Gephart said.
The bagels are available for anyone who comes into the Hospitality Center, Gephart said, and at the end of the day the overflow is given to the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, which is also located at St. Michaels.
The food pantry consists of eight local Cherry Hill congregations and offers food and goods to the needy of the township.
In the past year more newcomers are showing up to the pantry for aid, Gephart said, and with the economy still in a down swing the numbers may increase.
“We’re seeing a lot of new families here. We’re seeing people that are underemployed and can’t keep up with the increasing food prices,” she said.
The pantry is always in need of donations, Gephart said.
The best day to drop off sealed food goods or to donate supplies would be Friday morning from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Michael’s. This is the day that the pantry is restocked by volunteers.
Both the pantry and hospitality center are open to the public two days a week.
On Tuesdays they are open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Thursday they are open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Please call 482–0697 for more information or visit the organization’s Web site at CherryHillFoodPantry.org.