Once the weather turns colder, the need for food and supplies seems to get extreme for Sussex County families who rely on food pantries for basic, supplemental needs.
The upcoming holiday season also places an added stress on area food pantries. Many local food pantries are currently experiencing the “bare shelf syndrome” caused by the decrease in food donations carried over from limited donations during the summer months.
There are roughly 20 food pantries in the Newton, Sparta, Sussex and Vernon areas, several affiliated with local churches. The St. Francis de Sales Food Pantry trio facilitators Carol Varesi, Rick Drogo and Doug Carsella work many volunteer hours securing and preparing donations from local stores and private donators.
“The best donations are non-perishable goods like soups, stews, tuna, cold and hot cereals, beans snacks, vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, pasta and sauces and personal toiletries,” Carsella said.
Varesi said the food pantry provides for 70 families and the number keeps growing. The pantry is also organizing donations for Thanksgiving baskets that will be distributed on Nove. 23.
“The need is extremely great,” Drogo said.
All three pantry facilitators want the public to know that all donations made to any Sussex County food pantry are distributed within the county only.