HomeDeptford NewsLocal community pantry powered by Deptford families

Local community pantry powered by Deptford families

Facility is filled daily with food and other nonperishable items

JAMES JACKSON/The Sun  Jackie Dunn sorts through the pantry to make sure its filled. Her along with other Deptford residents are responsible for its maintenance

Crystal Spears-Behm’s son is a local Boy Scout, and for each rank, he has to do community service hours. Since everything was shut down due to COVID and it was hard to donate time,  he built and installed a small drop box pantry last July that sits at Andaloro Farms. 

“We thought it was going to be helpful, but we never expected this pantry to do so well,” said Spears-Behm. 

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The pantry took about 30 hours to build and is filled daily with food and other nonperishable items.  

“It was supposed to be nonperishable items, but people have started to put shampoo and face masks in there as well,” the mother said. 

The pantry was built to help struggling Deptford residents and families in need, but it is in a discreet location so residents can feel comfortable taking donations. Spears-Behm and her family drew up a blueprint and submitted it to the township, and Deputy Mayor Tom Hufnell approved the location.

Spears-Behm and her family started to notice that because of the pandemic, it became difficult to go food shopping. 

“A Facebook friend of mine put out a request that asked if anyone could build a small pantry,” she recalled. Before making the request, her Facebook friend Valerie Hadley was going to put it on her front lawn. 

A group of people are in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the pantry, including the two women. 

“Someone will put an alert about it on the Deptford Township Facebook group, and within that evening, it will be filled again,” Spears-Behm explained. 

During the cold and windy winter, the pantry is protected by Plexiglass. Last winter, it ended up falling over and people from the nearby Museum of American History put the Plexiglass in storage. Someone then put a bag over it so nothing inside the pantry would be affected. 

Spears-Behm said that when she or someone else posts updates about the pantry on the Deptford Facebook group, there are many residents who are just finding out about its existence. 

“This pantry has multiple families using it on a weekly basis and it is still never empty,” she said. “I know it makes our hearts happy to see our community coming together to help families in need.” 

The pantry is located at 138 Andalaro Way, in the Westville sections of Deptford. 

For questions or concerns about the pantry, email deptfordcommunitypantry@gmail.com

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