The parking lot at St. John Vianney Interfaith Food Pantry was kind of like an assembly line Wednesday afternoon as volunteers helped dozens of people pick up groceries and the makings of their Thanksgiving meal.
In it’s fourth year, the pantry had 170 turkeys ready to distribute to families, but volunteer Don Mueller expected more people to show up than that. Last year, the food pantry gave 160 turkeys and had 190 people, said volunteer Rocky Ragano. The previous two years had lower numbers, he said.
“We’ve grown every year,” Ragano said.
The food pantry has distributed 160,000 pounds of food in the last year and had 5,111 separate pickups of groceries in the same timer period, Mueller said.
To pull off Wednesday’s food distribution, which was the normal weekly food distribution plus the distribution of Thanksgiving food, took volunteers and donations by other church groups, the Boy Scouts, Safeway, Wawa and more.
Clients went to each room on the first floor of the house where the food pantry is located to pick up bread, meat and more, and then went outside to pick up fresh produce and Thanksgiving meal supplies, assisted the whole way by volunteers, who pushed shopping carts, carried and loaded groceries into cars and more.
Some of the volunteers Wednesday were middle school students from Cardinal Hickey Academy who are members of the National Junior Honor Society.
Lisa Dorn, a librarian at Cardinal Hickey and co-moderator of the society, said experiences like this help the students see the impact of the fundraising and food drive events they do.
“This puts kids actively into service,” Dorn said.
“It feels good to help people who don’t have as much as we do,” said Madeline Radosevic, 12.