Noxen Food Pantry assists families in need

First Posted: 9/16/2014

“Everyone has something that they can be thankful for,” said Pearl Race of the Pastor’s Food Pantry in Noxen. Race explained that those who are in need of assistance should be thankful for organizations like Noxen’s food pantry, and those who are able to give should be thankful that they have enough that they can help others.

The food pantry was started 20 years ago by Reverend Keith Benjamin of the Noxen Methodist Church. Its original purpose was to assist families and individuals in emergency situations. Race said the area’s need increased and, today, the pantry accommodates between 40 and 60 families, with one to four new families applying each month. Race also pointed out it is not unusual to see a family where two people are working, and they are still eligible for assistance.

The food pantry is located in the basement of the Noxen Methodist Church. It serves the Southern Wyoming County, Lake-

Lehman and Dallas school districts and the Noxen side of Route 118. It not only provides food, but also teaches about healthy food preparation, information on social service programs and coupon clipping.

Race said pantry volunteers are thankful to all those businesses, organizations and individuals who contribute to the pantry’s existence.

The pantry was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Sisters of Mercy Foundation in Dallas. The grant will be used to purchase equipment for future expanded pantry.

Eighty-eight-year old Martha Macialek, of Noxen, along with a group she organized, prepares special donations for every holiday, such as trinket boxes for Mother’s Day, Easter baskets and backpacks and school supplies for children at the start of the new school year. Macialek is a member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Noxen.

Margaret Holgren has been volunteering with the pantry since 2008. She puts together birthday bags for the children.

College student Christian Samuels, of Misericordia’s Christian Ministry, volunteers many hours of service to the pantry.

Megan Maccarone compiled recipe booklets featuring healthy and economical recipes, which have been donated to the pantry to show how to prepare meals in both a healthy and economical manner. Maccarone created the booklets as her senior project at Lake-Lehman High School.

Field’s Grassy Ridge in Noxen donates between 80 to 100 pounds of produce per week and Pantry Garden at Lehman donates vegetables during the growing season. Weis Markets and Bagel Art, both of Dallas, Walmart in Tunkhannock and Monelli’s Bakery in Kingston are all contributors.

Race said the group is looking forward to establishing a Noxen neighborhood center. The Southern Wyoming County Community Building will include a larger food pantry, gym, kitchen, recreation center and meeting room. It will be located behind the Noxen Food Market. “There is already a walking track, playground, and pavilion” Race said.

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