CLEARFIELD – Although more people are back to work, stimulus checks have gone out and COVID restrictions have been lifted, people in this area and our food banks are still in need.
Robin Clark of the Clearfield Ministerium Food Pantry at the Trinity United Methodist Church said in March they served 243 elderly people, 350 adults and 287 children.
They also provided “emergency food” to 87 individuals during this time.
Bags of food are often distributed with recipe suggestions.
Overall, the numbers this year are down and sadly, this is because some of them died, including 10 in Curwensville within six weeks, Clark said.
Another reason is that right now some families are receiving an increased amount of food stamps, but a definite need for help still exists among others including the homeless and elderly in the area, she stressed.
Some of these people are “between the lines” because their work fluctuates and they are not eligible for food stamps and the homeless cannot sign up because they have no address.
Many of the elderly are still afraid to go out and she is trying to keep up with getting food to them.
“I know people who are in need and are not coming (to pick it up).”
She said she keeps an eye on these seniors especially, but she is not allowed to deliver to them herself. Currently, she is looking for volunteers for contact-free deliveries to ensure these people do not go without food. (If you are interested in helping, please call her at 814-765-1672.)
Elderly clients can also have a family member pick food up for them.
Clark wears many hats within the organization. She works part-time with Central PA Community Action, the Clearfield Ministerium and the Trinity United Methodist Church.
The pantries receive help from the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Central PA Food Bank which sometimes provides produce.
State money can only be used for certain things, she explained, and the FEMA money is used to get gift certificates or gift cards for meat at local grocery stores.
The larger than normal amount of food going in and out has led to a surplus of cardboard, which is taken by the truck load several days a week to Novey’s Recycling.
“We try to recycle as much as we can.”
This time of the year is the “off-season” for donations and they are approaching the end of the state fiscal year. “Right now, the state money is almost gone.”
Luckily, members of the community help keep the group going.
For example, local resident Don Shaw recently made a nice donation.
“He wanted to help us reach those in need and to see families full and safe,” Clark said in a recent letter to the editor about the donation.
Businesses also play a part in their success.
The Country Butcher gave them some elk meat and venison, which they were able to add to their food bags.
One local woman has been donating her extra eggs, but Clark stated they can’t keep them or meat very long because they don’t have a cooler.
Sometimes, even the younger residents prove helpful, she explained as she mentioned a local child who decided to go door to door to collect food because he saw a report on television about some kids not having food and he felt bad.
Donations of food or money (used to buy meat) are always needed as are volunteers especially in Curwensville.
Clark appreciates everyone’s help and is grateful for all the donations.
“If not for our volunteers, we would not be running right now.”
If you are in need of food, Clark suggests you call her at 814-765-1672.
In addition to the food pantry at the Trinity Church, CPCA operates one in Curwensville at the Curwensville Presbyterian Church, and ones in Burnside/Mahaffey, DuBois, Houtzdale, Karthaus, Osceola Mills, West Branch and Westover. (Details are available at the CPCA Web site.)
The Salvation Army in Clearfield has its own food bank and there is a new one, the John Lightner Food Bank operated by CenClear, that is serving the Coalport, Irvona area as well as Beccaria Township.