Volunteers pleased with the donated goods from the community for locals
By KRYSTAL NURSE
Your Place At The Table collected hundreds of pounds of food and goods for local families affected by the recent federal government shutdown.
From Jan. 18 until the 26th, YPATT asked people to pick up extra food when they did their grocery shopping, if possible, to help families who were furloughed during the shutdown.
The shutdown started on Dec. 22 after both chambers of Congress and President Trump could not come to an agreement on funding the government for the 2019 fiscal year, more notably, $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to multiple sources.
“There are two businesses in town that collected food,” said Kristen Skrobanek, founder of YPATT. “We put fliers up, and the National Honor Society from Clearview did a food drive at ShopRite [on Jan. 26].”
Jan. 27 was the day for families to arrive at Trinity United Methodist Church with their government IDs to shop for food. That effort, however, was slightly thwarted as a bill passed in Congress and was signed by the president to formally reopen the government.
Despite no one stopping by to pick up a box of cereal or pasta, volunteers said they’d do it again.
“I asked everyone [at my job] to bring in some canned goods and boxed cereals and they all came through, which I was surprised at,” said Denise Racano, president of the Mullica Hill Rotary Club. She collected nearly 200 pounds of food from her coworkers.
The downstairs of Trinity was designed much like a supermarket with tables containing a variety of cereals, canned vegetables, sauces, pasta, sanitary goods and, from the donation of one person, a cooler of meat.
“It’s really nice to have all of this food here for everybody, even though it was a low turnout,” said Kingsway Regional High School junior Justin Selkow. “I’m glad that we’re going to put this in for storage in case the government shutdown does happen again. It’s a good thing that we still have all of this food put to good use.”
Skrobanek agreed the food will be held over in case another shutdown occurs and until the food pantry is certain it won’t happen in the near future. Currently, the bill signed by the president has the government open for 21 days.
Racano added community service is one of the ideas behind the Rotary and it “felt good” to know the food is available at YPATT for those who may need it.
Selkow, who frequently volunteers with YPATT through Kingsway, added he was proud for the community to donate food and goods to the pantry. While he may never meet the people who receive the food, he said the experience is “humbling.”
For those seeking food or who wish to donate goods, visit www.YPATT.org for information on assistance. No income restriction is in place on who can pick up food from the pantry.