The Cherry Hill Food Pantry lends a helping hand to those in need

The Cherry Hill Food Pantry hours are Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m at 1463 Brace Road.

Ten years ago, in a 10-foot by 10-foot basement of a Baptist church, the Cherry Hill Food Pantry began its journey to provide solace for families in times of financial uncertainty. Today, the pantry has not only increased in size but is hoping to spread awareness of its cause throughout Cherry Hill and the neighboring communities.

After operating from a church basement for a little more than a year, the pantry moved to a larger space in St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Cherry Hill. The church housed the pantry for seven years before it moved to its current location, 1463 Brace Road.

Despite the pantry’s small start, it has since grown and provides food and toiletries to not only the Cherry Hill area but the Haddonfield, Marlton and Mt. Laurel communities as well. Currently, 425 families utilize the pantry’s services monthly, according to the organization’s website; however, in November and December, that number jumps to more than 600 clients per month. Around 941 families are registered with the pantry to date, and the number continues to increase.

Executive Director Janet Giordano said she is interested in hopefully gaining corporate sponsorship to find a more permanent space for the Pantry that can sustain a larger number of registered community members.

With the growing number of clients the pantry has, it relies on local grocery stores, residents and restaurants to donate supplies. Once the donations arrive at the pantry, it is then neatly organized by section for registered clients to bring home to their families.

In addition to providing meals and supplies, the pantry also offers medical services. Volunteer nurses conduct free blood pressure and sugar screenings as well as provide dietary counseling.

Volunteer nurse Mary Layton emphasizes the instrumental part the pantry plays in Cherry Hill alone.

“I just want people to know that in Cherry Hill, we do have many needs in our community, and people don’t always realize that because Cherry Hill is always associated with a description of being an affluent community,” she said.

Even with the misconception that a food pantry may not be needed in Cherry Hill, there’s still many people who are unaware of the existence of the pantry and the impact it has on providing valuable resources to the community.

“There’s still a lot of people that I meet in Cherry Hill that don’t know we exist, and I want people to know that we are here and we need all kinds of help,” Giordano said.

People from all socioeconomic backgrounds coming from financially compromising situations come to the pantry to feed their family. President of the Cherry Hill Food Pantry Michael Doyle adds, “There’s a misconception in these towns that the streets are lined with gold, there really is. We see the other side that’s in the dark, that no one wants to see.”

The Cherry Hill Food Pantry hours are Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To make a denotation, go to http://cherryhillfoodpantry.com/donations/, and for questions on how to get involved, contact Giordano at CherryHillnjFoodPantry@gmail.com.