On May 30 and 31, a township-wide food drive will benefit the food pantry at Masonville-Rancocas Methodist Church. Drop-offs can be made either day from 2 to 4 p.m. at the church, or porch drop-offs can be left any time at 12 Kenton Place.
The drive takes its inspiration from Burlington County’s produce drives as well as efforts pairing the New Jersey Department of Agriculture with the group Farmers Against Hunger. According to Councilman Stephen Steglik, it is an effort spearheaded by Mt. Laurel Democrats that aims to refill the pantry at Masonville-Rancocas Methodist Church, especially considering that economic recovery will be a long road for many.
“We know that even as the economy starts getting back to work, there’s going to be a lag in families being able to provide for themselves, so our goal was replenishing food banks that needed it,” Steglik said, explaining that the Methodist Church’s pantry has regular distribution hours but has become “bone dry.”
As Steglik said that the pantry had a donation system already in place, volunteers can come in and contribute to an established method of collecting and providing, which is exactly what he and the others working behind the scenes were looking for. It allowed the church to provide direction while volunteers provided the organization and resources for the most efficient team effort.
Having a dedicated two-day window and a pair of locations for donations will, Steglik said, hopefully best facilitate the opportunity for well-intentioned locals to help their neighbors in need.
“We wanted to give people a static day and time to donate, that way it makes it a little easier for them to remember, makes it a little easier for the church to accept incoming donations,” he said.
Shelf-stable food like nonperishables, pasta, condiments and cookies are welcome, as are paper products, cleaning supplies and personal-care items. And while any donation is always appreciated, there are a few specific items that the Masonville-Rancocas Methodist Church is requesting. Breads, butter, peanut butter and canned foods of all kinds are among the basics that are especially needed.
Additional food drives are being considered for the future in an effort to bring attention to local food pantries’ needs.
“We’re going to try to keep doing this, especially in the aftermath of COVID as we’re venturing in unforeseen territory,” Steglik said. “As long as people keep donating to these places and know that they’re available, then we’ve done our job.”
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