A place to help: Pantry collects crates of food for drive

Harrison Township Recreation Commission
Your Place at the Table’s food drive serves families in five townships through donations boxes at area sites.

As a way to prepare its inventory for the summer, the Mullica Hill-based food pantry Your Place at the Table (YPATT) will host its Pack the Crate food drive from Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12, to Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16.

How it works is that participants bring food donations to one of several dropoff points and receive a crate that is then brought to a neighbor or friend so it can be filled within five days with nonperishable breakfast items.

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People can also text YPATT at (609) 202-0015 if they would like to pack a crate. Donations then go to families in Mullica Hill, South Harrison, Mantua, East Greenwich and Elk townships.

YPATT is seeking boxes of cereal, flavored oatmeal, syrup, pancake mix, jelly, spaghetti sauce, white rice and canned fruit for each crate, to which participants will affix their names.

“We started this campaign in 2018 but took a break in 2020, so this will be the fifth year,” said pantry director Kristen Skrobanek. “We run the food drive from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and this will provide our inventory for over the summer. Hoping we can beat last year’s donations and collect over 10,000 pounds.”

The dropoff locations – each with a plastic bin – are at Trinity United Methodist Church, 284 Cedar Road; the Harrison Township municipal building, 114 Bridgeton Pike; and Century Savings Bank, 100 North Main Street.

The doors at Trinity UMC are open 24 hours a day, the municipal building is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the bank is open the same days from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We have neighborhood captains who will help to keep the crate moving in the developments,” Skrobanek noted. “We would like to get across to keep the crates moving from house to house. The faster the crates move, the more food donations we will get.”

There will also be a photo contest during the donation period. Participants are asked to like the pantry’s Facebook page, Your Place at the Table, and follow it on Instagram at YPATTpantry.

On either Facebook or Instagram, participants must post a photo of themselves with their filled crate with the hashtag, #PACKtheCrate, tag @YourPlaceattheTable and then nominate a family or friend to take on the challenge themselves, to make sure the challenge reaches as many people as possible.

“All of the food that YPATT distributes comes from community donations by generous people like yourself,” says a flyer for the event. “Donations are what make this all possible.”

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