February is National Canned Food Month and Lehman United Methodist Church and St. John's Lutheran Church, both in Hatboro, need donations of canned food year-round to meet the needs of many hungry children and adults in the area.
The Days Inn in Horsham also has an ongoing collection of non-perishable food items to benefit the community and welcomes donations.
Officials from the food banks in Hatboro said canned vegetables, spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, cereal, canned meat (tuna, chicken and ham), peanut butter, jelly, boxed meals, powdered milk, toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent and toilet paper are items in high demand.
St. John’s office manager Michelle Santos told Patch previously that the church’s 8-year-old food pantry serves between 35 and 40 individuals and their families a week.
“Our shelves wipe out pretty quick,” Santos said. “It’s really gotten huge because the need is just so great right now.”
Shannon Traeger, a spokeswoman with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity said that this year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are “more than 50 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, that are food insecure, meaning they live at risk of hunger.” And the face of hunger is changing. “Just because a person has a job, does not mean he or she has enough money to put a meal on the table, and, in fact, 36 percent of client households served by the Feeding America network have one or more adults working.”
Keep in mind when donating canned food that food banks may not be able to use unlabeled cans or home-canned products or cans with large dents.
Smaller, specialized nonprofit programs also use canned food goods to feed their clients. Pantry Packs works to alleviate food insecurities for almost 500 students in need, from preschool through high school, by providing weekly food packs via student backpacks.
Every week, volunteers fill packs with kid-friendly food for the weekend. Packs are distributed each Friday via school staff and/or PTSA volunteers. Kids are able to take the packs home to help supplement what their family has on hand. Potential clients for the program are identified by school counselors or the families themselves and the confidentiality of students and their families is protected.
Founder Shauna Yusko said that canned food donations are an important part of the mix of food provided to Pantry Packs’ clients. "Our students often have both parents working outside of the home, leaving older siblings to cook for younger ones, so we look for food products that are easy to open and prepare, such as easy pull lids on cans of prepared ravioli. Canned food donations that are needed most include: chicken noodle soup, ravioli, chili and canned fruit/veggies.”
To help people in need nearby, consider donating canned goods at the following locations:
Lehman United Methodist Church, 300 S. York Road, Hatboro
St. John's Lutheran Church, 505 N. York Road, Hatboro
Days Inn - Horsham, 245 Easton Road, Horsham