Every Tuesday and Thursday, a nationwide conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society sponsors a food pantry by appointment for residents run by the Church of the Holy Eucharist in Tabernacle.
It is now in its 20th year.
The conference works in tandem with local community churches and the Food Bank of South Jersey, the largest source of government and non-government food assistance in the area, and while it operates out of individual parishes, the conference is a nonprofit that serves the entire country.
“I think what we do, we do very well,” said Steve Coffee of the St. Vincent de Paul conference.
The idea to run the pantry using appointment cards began during the pandemic and has continued since. With the social-distancing restrictions in place initially, the pantry was a no-contact operation run out of garages behind the churches. Residents now continue to receive donations on the day of their appointment.
Pantry staples are donated by businesses such as Aldi in Lumberton and Sprouts in Marlton, with baked goods from Russo’s Fruit and Vegetable Farm. Tabernacle businesses like Nixon’s General Store and Waller’s Deli help with donations that range from perishables and nonperishables to diapers and shampoo.
The Church of the Holy Eucharist supports the efforts of the conference with food and monetary donations and has a number of volunteers who help residents in need with financial matters and transportation, too.
“They are very, very generous and very, very helpful in serving the people that are in need in the geographical area,” said Coffee.
The food pantry only serves residents in Southampton, Tabernacle, Shamong, Vincentown, Indian Mills, Chatsworth and Woodland Township. It sees about 100 to 120 people a month and up to one to 11 family members.
“If they contact us and they’re in another location, we refer them to a location that will take care of them,” Coffee noted.
Other churches with St. Vincent de Paul conferences in the Burlington County area are St. Mary of the Lakes in Medford, Sacred Heart Church in Mount Holly and Church of St. Isaac Jogues in Evesham.
Pantry hours are 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit https://holyeucharist.org/