Hatboro Food Drive to Refill Pantry Shelves

The Greater Hatboro Chamber of Commerce is spearheading a month-long non-perishable food drive to benefit two church-based food pantries.

Tough economic times mean more people are seeking help from community food pantries. Supplies of peanut butter, jelly and other non-perishable goods are getting low, officials said. 

In response to the growing need to have more food to feed the needy, the Greater Hatboro Chamber of Commerce has spearheaded a non-perishable food collection drive to benefit food pantries at Lehman United Methodist Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church.

St. John’s office manager Michelle Santos said 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.”

Santos said the pantry feeds people from Hatboro, Upper Moreland, Warminster and occasionally Abington. Everyone is permitted to select goods that will fill one grocery bag, she said. Those picking up food must show identification, Santos said and cannot receive food more than once every other week.

“If we let it be every week we would have nothing,” she said.

St. John’s pantry is open the first and third Monday of the month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the “working poor,” Santos said. The pantry is also open every Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone in need, she said.

Besides food and monetary donations from the St. John’s congregation, Santos said Hatboro Baptist Church and the Church of the Advent offer regular contributions to help keep the pantry’s shelves stocked. The Upper Moreland Pepperidge Farm store and the Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel shop at the Willow Grove Mall donate items periodically too, Santos said. 

While it may not be something people eat, Santos said toilet paper is something always in demand. 

“It’s not food, but it’s needed,” she said, adding that each person is permitted two rolls of toilet paper per food pickup. “Everything is needed.”

At Lehman United Methodist Church, Pastor Steve McComas said three weeks ago the cupboards were nearly bare. On Friday, when Patch visited, the shelves – save an empty spot for peanut butter and a lone jar of jelly – were brimming with macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, prepared meals and more.

“We’re seeing more people who need help,” McComas said. “It tends to go in waves, but the need never changes.” 

Those in need can pick up a pre-packed grocery bag of food and toiletry items, including toothpaste, soap and laundry detergent Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. when Lehman Church's pantry is open.

McComas estimated that the church gives out between 10 and 12 bags of groceries each day the pantry is open, meaning those fully stocked shelves may not stay that way for very long. 

“It’s anybody who can get to the church,” McComas said. “We don’t set up geographic boundaries. If you can get to the church then we’re here to help you.”

How you can help

The Greater Hatboro Chamber of Commerce’s food drive runs through Oct. 31. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the chamber office, Red Barn Mall, 120 S. York Road, Suite 6, or in the lobby of Hatboro Federal Savings, 221 S. York Road.

Items in need

Canned vegetables, spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, cereal, canned meat (tuna, chicken, ham), peanut butter, jelly boxed meals, powdered milk, toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent and toilet paper

Gilbert R Albright Jr October 01, 2012 at 12:16 PM
The thing that bothers me about some food pantries is that Illegal Immigrants go to them to get food. It's bad enough they are in the country stealing jobs, wages, educations for their kids, emergency medical treatment, and not paying taxes, but they hit the food pantries to get free food too!
Michelle Hazlett October 03, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Shame on you Mr. Albright! I think it is a wonderful thing that these churches are doing. They don't look at skin color or if you are legal or illegal. These churches look at these people as children of GOD and are willing to give to those in need. I am a member of Lehman Church and I try to help out as much as I can. I am just very thankful that I do not need such services so I try to help those that do. I hope that and you family never need to visit the food pantry but maybe you should visit one and volunteer your time. You may be surprised at who stops by for food....
jenortip October 03, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Amen Michelle!!
Cora Rowe October 21, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Many food pantries have an initial process to determine a family's earnings and need. Usually identification must be shown.


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