Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Church's food pantry helps those in need

by ABBEY ZELKO news@indianagazette.net on March 31, 2013 3:00 AM

Following its mission of service, the Zion Lutheran Church has been feeding people in need at its food pantry for about 30 years.

The Food Pantry, located at 100 S. Sixth St., serves low-income, disability and Supplemental Security Income households once a month.

They receive three bags of items — two bags of groceries including breakfast, lunch and dinner items, and one bag of toiletries and cleaning products.

In the last 12 months, the Food Pantry — which is funded mainly by donations from within the church — served 137 families on average.

The majority of the clients are middle-aged and older and come from one- to two-person households. But the Food Pantry also serves some families with young children.

Distribution of the food is scheduled for the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

“It’s quite an operation, especially on the first distribution day,” social ministry committee Chairman Eugene Ferg, 61, said.

“We give food to 80 to 100 families.”

Between buying the food, distribution and sorting grocery bags, the Food Pantry has about 12 volunteers from the church.

But Zion Lutheran also welcomes outside help.

“We have opportunities for people to come in and sort through grocery bags because we reuse them,” Ferg said.

“We go through close to 1,000 bags in a month.”

Zion Lutheran raises about $25,000 a year for the Food Pantry. According to Ferg, the church sees it as its mission.

“Within the Lutheran church body, there is a strong social service ethic,” he said.

“If someone comes in need, the church makes sure they are provided with something. It is part of our mission as a church to do this.”

To volunteer at the Food Pantry, contact Ferg at (724) 465-5597.

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