Food Pantry 2019 Review

Volunteers from St. John’s were

Pat Beadling, Floss and Walt Braithwaite, Helen and Ray Brettle, Ron Brown, Patty Cawthorne, Sue Cern, Susan Cupitt, Shirley Cuthie, Alan and Linda Eickhoff, Don Fisher, Sue Giesecke, Don Gleiter, Dorothy Godfrey, Renee Gohn, CJ Hamilton, Allison and Rick Hudson, Derel Keller, Carol King,  Anne Michel, Pat O’Donnell, Rod Orth, Kristie, Schmidt, Barbara and Len Shepherd, Birdie and Tom Smith, Ken and Louise Woods.

People may say that life is like a roller coaster. 
That has proven to be true for the Food Pantry in 2019.  Not all of our “highs” were exhilarating and not all of our “lows” were cause for despair.  It was certainly a year that proved to be different from our past years.

We have often experienced positive feedback on the pantry experience.  The webmaster at St. John’s has often expressed a surprise at how many views the pantry tab on the St. John’s website experiences.  Early in 2019 we were voted “Most Loved 2019” on the social media site hulafrog.com that covers an area from Doylestown to Horsham.

  • We do follow the comments and ratings from users to make sure we are providing a quality experience.

Among the new donors supporting the pantry in 2019 was the Garden of Health.
This group supplies the pantry with gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free products including pasta sauce, pasta, peanut butter, jelly, soup, and more.  We have created a special cart to display these items for our shoppers.

We started the year with 522 families on our records. 
Every January we move any client that did not come in the previous calendar year to inactive status.  During 2019 we had 9 of our inactive families return to active status.  In addition we added 164 new client families to our rolls ending the year with 748 active families.  Our weekly average rose from 57 visits in 2018 to 61 visits per week in 2019.

Increased use of the pantry means that spending on food is likely to increase and this was certainly the case. 
2018 spending for the year was $24,442 and 2019 spending for the year grew to $26,438.  Noting the increased spending during the year we slowly began to reduce spending by putting fewer items on our shopping list while adding them to our donation request list.

We are blessed to have Jan Latucca as our resource advisor. 
Her task is to help clients connect with available resources as they grapple with issues relating to housing, employment, utility bills, medical issues, etc.  During 2019 she expanded her time from two Thursdays per month to every Thursday.  A summary of her efforts on behalf of clients she saw at St. John’s follows this report.

A major achievement for the year was the special fundraising campaign to air-condition the storage area where our two freezers and our refrigerator are housed.  Excessive heat build-up in the area threatened the longevity of the equipment.  The quick response in support of this plea allowed the job to be completed in late summer.

In 2018 the pantry received monetary donations totally $24,442.37.
A major donor of $1000 per year ceased operation.  Unfortunately, we were surprised when two other major donors of long-standing did not come forward this year.

  • Our 2019 end of year numbers shows total donations of $11,584.68.
    • This represents combined donations from members of St. John’s as well as outside sources.
    • Needless to say, we cannot sustain the imbalance between spending and income.
  • The leadership team has held several discussions about how to proceed.
    • We have instituted a monthly budget to restrict spending.
    • If you follow our monthly reports you have noted the move from emphasizing personal care items to making requests for food items.  We have created a list of “must have” items that we feel should always be available while learning to live with the notion that sometimes our shelves might not be as full as they once were.

The Food Pantry at St. John’s is a faith-based organization. 
Included in this is the notion that God will show us how to continue to serve the members of our community even if it is somewhat different from how we have done it previously.  We have been blessed by numerous community groups that support our efforts.

  • We are very grateful for the team of over 75 volunteers that allow the pantry to operate.
  • We are extremely grateful for the prayers and support from our four co-sponsoring congregations, Hatboro Baptist, Church of the Advent, Redeemer Lutheran and St. John’s Lutheran.

Pantry Leadership Team:  Helen Brettle, Sue Cern, Alan Eickhoff