Johnstown Independent

Food pantry's supplies lower than expected

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

For a while, Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry director Ruth Krumm was pretty certain the pantry's supplies would last into the summer.

That's not the case, though.

"Right now, we've had to buy quite a bit of food," she said. "The thing is, we're getting so many more people coming in. It's kind of been a struggle lately."

Krumm said not only are more families visiting the pantry, which is housed within the Johnstown Independent Baptist Church, but they also are larger families. Many have five to nine members, she said.

She said it's become really tough to provide families with $10 and $15 Kroger certificates so families could buy perishables that the pantry can't store properly. It's not uncommon, she said, for $100 worth of certificates to leave the pantry in less than an hour.

Krumm does not believe the food pantry's woes are related to operation.

"We have an outstanding treasurer in Al Curran," she said. "He's been really helping."

Even with supplies low, she said, Curran emphasizes providing all the food a family needs.

"He never says you should put less (food) in a box," Krumm said.

The pantry served 129 families in April and 121 in March. Thus far in May, the pantry has served more than 50 families. Krumm said donations have been generous, but for whatever reason, the demand has increased. The pantry is supposed to serve only people who live within the Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school districts, and as far as Krumm knows, no one from outside the area is trying to use the pantry, with one or two possible exceptions.

"I don't think there are too many people (unfairly) taking advantage of it," she said.

No matter the reason, Krumm said, the bottom line is that local need is strong and the food pantry could use donations to help feed area families.

"Nothing is too large or too small for us to take," she said.

The pantry is in need of both food donations and money for certificates.

Krumm said she appreciates all of the pantry's regular benefactors, such as the Faith Fellowship Church, the Alexandria and Johnstown Methodist churches, K-Ceps Automotive, which holds food drives, and Northridge Middle School, which held a food drive in March, in addition to the competitive food drives the Northridge and Johnstown-Monroe districts hold in the fall. She said the Johnstown American Legion Post 254 never hesitate to donate money when its members hear the food pantry was in need. The Panera Bread company has donated generously, as well, shipping in bread and "lots of bagels" on Mondays, she said.

Those who want to donate or use the pantry's services should call 740-924-2835.

Krumm described a recent visit in which an older couple visited the pantry. She said the woman cried the entire time she was there, saying that never in her life has she had to rely on a food pantry.

"I told her not to feel bad," Krumm said. "That's why we're here."