Throughout the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, DLP team members, through the DLP Positive Returns Foundation, donated thousands of dollars worth of food items to three food pantries located in St. Augustine, FL; Easton, PA; and Allentown, PA.
Carla Wenner, President of the Foundation, made the first food donation at the Homeless Coalition of St. Johns County, in St. Augustine. She was able to shop at the local Publix early in the morning, prior to the store opening, in order to fulfill the pantry’s wish list needs. At the coalition, she met Betty, who was grateful for the donation, especially since the need had increased when the COVID-19 pandemic began and food drives were canceled. Betty commented, “Food donations help to provide staples for all of our families in transitional housing. Currently, we are providing housing for up to 27 families. We also offer a pantry walk-up service as well as after-school programs from infants up to late teens in order to provide them with snacks and a safe place to stay after school is over.” The mission of the Homeless Coalition is ultimately, to break the cycle of homelessness.
Next up, DLP visited Project Easton food pantry in Easton, PA. Team members Jenn LoConte and Hillary Notarriani shopped at BJs Wholesale Club, stocking up on necessities like cereal, canned soups and vegetables, canned meat, pasta, and other food items before taking the donations to the pantry where they met Antoinette Cavaliere, program director. Cavaliere commented, “There has been an enormous increase in individuals and families visiting our pantry each week. Many have lost their jobs during this pandemic. The stocked shelves usually end up bare by the end of each week.” Project Easton’s mission is to build a better community by helping people to help themselves. They offer several programs including literacy and success programs for both students and adults.
Around the end of May, DLP Positive Returns Foundation made a third donation to Catholic Charities’ Ecumenical Kitchen, located in Allentown, PA. Lindsay Sarver, Executive Administrative Assistant, met DLP team members at the door, grateful for another donation of food that was desperately needed. She commented, “The first week of COVID-19, we gave out 80 boxes of food items to individuals and families. Less than two months later, we are distributing 250 boxes of food each week.” The food pantry gives out approximately 2,000 lbs. of groceries per week to around 250 families in need. Sarver said that Catholic Charities is the only food bank that does not require proof of income or geography and that they also deliver needed food to seniors and moms who are unable to physically get to the pantry.
While the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be subsiding, food donations are greatly needed throughout the country. Unemployment has been greatly affected by the temporary and even permanent closure of many businesses. Please consider making a monetary or physical donation to a food pantry in your city or town.