The Masonville United Methodist Church in Mt. Laurel will hold its fourth food drive on Saturday, April 24, an event sponsored by the Mount Laurel Democratic Committee. Volunteers will help restock food items for needy families from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Food insecurity is something that many families struggle with, and if there was a way to encourage people to seek help without feeling like they’re being judged. That’s one of the things that we strive for,” said Pastor Karen Murray.
The church hopes for a large turnout at the food drive compared to a previous drive in January. The community can make financial donations through the church website, or drop off items ranging from canned goods to produce at the church itself.
Pickup for food items from the church used to be three times a month, but once COVID hit, the church moved that to every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., as well as the third Saturday of every month.
The pandemic has resulted in more food shortages for the elderly. The Democratic Committee noticed that happening only in Mt. Laurel, but other townships as well. Some recipients were driving an hour away from home to the church to pick up food.
“The churches that normally we’re doing food drives once a month, we’re now doing them every week, but didn’t have anything to give,” said Councilwomen Karen Cohen. “The food bank sector was hit so hard. We wanted to help as many as possible, and that’s what we decided to do.”
Church volunteers make the process of receiving food much easier. Four of them come to the church on Tuesday to pack bags with cereals, pasta, sauce, and canned goods. They also put together packages of toiletries.
On Wednesday, four volunteers again help distribute the food, so those picking up items can sit in their cars outside the church until donations are hand-delivered.
The church regularly receives leftover bagels every Wednesday from Manhattan Bagel. Murray is grateful for the help of other businesses and the township.
“People are having a hard time just paying mortgages, or may have been laid off,” Cohen said. “We want to help the people, and there is a place right here that could help.”
All donations are made to Masonville United Methodist Church, 200 Masonville Road, Mt Laurel, or community members can utilize porch dropoff of items any time of day at 18 Winterberry Court, also in Mt. Laurel.