Food pantry in Tabernacle helps residents in five towns

By Katrina Grant

St. Vincent de Paul is a charity organization that offers many different services in many different areas. In Shamong, Tabernacle, Vincentown, Chatsworth and Southampton, St. Vincent de Paul has a conference through the Holy Eucharist Church in Tabernacle that provides a food pantry to residents in need in those towns.

“St. Vincent de Paul has been in our church for 26 years,” Joanne O’Brien, food pantry manager and St. Vincent de Paul Tabernacle vice president said. “Six years ago, we started our operation with the food pantry. We had a new office added, and we were able to use that for the food pantry.”

Through the years, the church has helped people out financially and when volunteers would do home visits they would bring food.

“We thought it was better to have one spot that people could come to get food,” O’Brien said.

The church receives donations of food and money through their parishioners for the food pantry.

“Our donations from our parishioners are wonderful,” O’Brien said. “We get them on a weekly basis and they help to keep us going. We also buy food from the food pantry in the county and Aldi. The government also gives us food for our pantry.”

Holy Eucharist Church also holds food drives with the local schools and Girls and Boy Scouts’ Clubs to help drive donations to the pantry.

“Tabernacle, Southampton and Seneca schools have helped us with our food drives,” O’Brien said. “I’m sure it helps families in those school districts.”

When the food pantry first opened six years ago, it serviced about 25 to 30 families a month. However, with word of mouth and the economy, that number has grown to about 80.

“It’s a lot. As fast as the food comes in, it goes out,” O’Brien said. “Through word of mouth this has gotten larger and grown, and, yes exactly, without a doubt the economy has been a factor.”

As the government has cut funding and aid to many other programs and charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Tabernacle has also lost some government donations for its food pantry.

“The government donations are down,” O’Brien said. “We are fortunate with our parishioners that keep us going and the food drives help also.”

Anyone who lives in the Shamong, Tabernacle, Chatsworth, Vincentown or Southampton areas is able to use the food pantry. Visitors will have to fill out a form and provide proof of residency. Visitors are allowed three bags of food, plus frozen food a month.

The food pantry is located at 520 Medford Lakes Rd, Tabernacle. If you would like to contact the pantry call 268–0005 or visit. Donations can be made directly to the pantry.