“Whether they (parents) realize it or not, their kids and grandkids see what they do, hear what they say and I think they’re setting a good example,” said John Forte, food pantry shop and restock coordinator.
“This (food pantry items) is all donated from local parents and businesses …” he added. “We put in a lot of labor, but we wouldn’t have the money if it wasn’t for their generosity.”
The township’s elementary schools – Roberts, South Valley and Upper – will provide donations to the pantry once a month. But with the school year over, the church requests contributions to help cover current demand.
Both drives will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and First Baptist asks that people bring non-perishable items to the church’s parking lot (next to Passariello’s restaurant). Volunteers will provide tax receipts.
“We’ve been very blessed to be able to provide what we’re able to provide because of the community,” noted Joy Faxon, food pantry donations co-coordinator.
“ … Every little bit helps.”
The pantry is in need of dinner items that include pasta, sauce, chicken helper/tuna helper and canned spaghetti. Breakfast items include shelf-stable milk, dry cereal, pancake mix and syrup. Protein items include canned chicken and tuna, Spam and peanut butter.
The pantry is also in need of personal hygiene items such as soap, deodorant, shampoo diapers (in sizes 4, 5 and 6) and feminine hygiene products. Canned or jarred fruit will also be accepted.
“Our clients are working … and are also trying to pay their utility bills and their rent and whatever else with their kids’ medical expenses and so forth, and so it’s a matter of trying to make ends meet,” explained John Khanlian, food pantry donations co-coordinator.
“If they can get some help with putting food on the table, it’s appreciated.”
According to the First Baptist website, the food pantry began as a small folding table holding a few non-perishable items in the lounge of the church. Since then, it has grown into a multi-room operation that feeds from 250 to 300 people a week. Its volunteers collect donations, stock and restock shelves and greet guests.
“I would encourage people – if they’re considering donating – and they want to see where their donations are going to go, they can come when the pantry is open, and we would be happy to show them around,” Forte advised.
“We do not ask someone if they’re truly in need,” Faxon said. “We don’t make them prove that they’re in need. Anyone who comes, we will accept.”
For information on the pantry, visit https://www.fbcmoorestown.org/food-pantry.html.