The first drive-through food collection for the Johnstown-Northridge Food Pantry filled bare shelves over the Memorial Day weekend.

The first drive-through food collection for the Johnstown-Northridge Food Pantry filled bare shelves over the Memorial Day weekend.

Pantry coordinator Ruth Krumm said the May 24 food drive totally stocked shelves that had been emptied by the large number of families seeking assistance in March and April.

"It went wonderfully," she said of the drive-through. "It makes thank-you seem so small Éif there was another word you could use to express your appreciation."

Krumm estimates at least 50 volunteers assisted the drive-through food collection that was held at the Johnstown Independ-ent Baptist Church, where the pantry is now located.

Several families who received assistance from the pantry in the past gave back last weekend, Krumm noted.

"Families we helped for two or three years -- each family brought in two or three boxes of food for what we gave them," she said. "To some who complain (about people taking advantage), I think I would like to throw that back at them."

The number of families seeking assistance has about tripled from the same time last year, Krumm said.

Before last Saturday's food drive, the pantry had to dip into its treasury to purchase $300 in food to assist families that numbered 68 in April and 64 in March.

People donate money to the pantry on an ongoing basis, and that money is usually used for gift certificates to provide meat and perishables for families in need, according to Krumm.

A fall food drive in the Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school districts usually keeps the pantry pretty well stocked.

The Johnstown Council 4324 Knights of Columbus sponsors the fall food drive, which last year brought in 41,826 items.

"The first year you do something like this drive-through food drive, I was a little leery," Krumm said. "But it worked out great. I was so thankful."

As workers inside the pantry placed food on the shelves, the outside volunteers kept up with the vehicles driving in.

The one side of the food pantry that was bare is now loaded, Krumm said.

"We had one scoutmaster with four of his kids there," she said. "The kids worked really hard. He would stand out there on the sidewalk and a car would drive up and he would send one of the boys."

Another family brought their two daughters to help, providing four volunteers from one household.

"It was just terrific," Krumm said. "Our shelves are full again. We're totally stocked up. I think it will last until the fall when we have our drive at the schools. It was just amazing."

Krumm said she especially wanted to thank local churches that donated food and provided checks.

In addition, she offers an extra thank-you to Johnstown Independent Pastor Dan Scarberry and his congregation, which allowed the pantry to locate at the church last September.

The pantry was previously located in the basement of the former Church of the Ascension before it moved to 7397 Johnstown-Alexandria Road across from Croton Road last fall.

"If they (Independent Baptist) hadn't let us have it there, we wouldn't have a food pantry," Krumm said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com