Food for all in need: Community support keeps Mantua UMC pantry running

Outside of Mantua United Methodist Church is a small blue cupboard filled with nonperishable food items. Soups and vegetables, oatmeal and snacks fill the shelves of this aptly named Blessing Box, ensuring those with empty stomachs have somewhere to go any time of the week.

The box is stocked by Mantua UMC’s Corinthian Cupboard, a food pantry dependent on donations from the community.

“The idea is to help out. We don’t provide all of your groceries for 30 days. It’s just to help and fill in the things you might not be able to afford,” Becky Langer explained.

Langer, the church secretary, has been involved with Corinthian Cupboard for 12 years. Since the start of COVID-19, she has been running the food pantry, too. In addition to the Blessing Box, the pantry permits families to collect food once every 30 days. Before the pandemic, people could shop at the pantry. For safety reasons, bags are now prepared by volunteers for people to take.

Corinthian Cupboard is currently in need of donations such as canned fruit, canned pasta and canned meats (tuna, chicken breast), and during the holidays, items such as stuffing and cranberry sauce are appreciated. The pantry will also collect frozen turkeys for holiday baskets.

“We’re always willing to take donations. We’re always willing to fill in our shelves as much as possible,” Langer said.

Those needing pantry support are asked to call the church at (856) 468-2711 to make an appointment for food pickup. Appointments are not needed for the Blessing Box, which is restocked a few times a week. Those able to donate nonperishable food items can call the church and leave donations outside the door for contactless dropoff.

Langer said around 15 families typically use Corinthian Cupboard each month. While there are some new faces since the pandemic started, many of the same people depend on the pantry offerings to make ends meet.

Learn more about Mantua UMC at mantuaumc.org. The church is located at 201 Mantua Blvd., Mantua.