1. It's not too late to register for the Summer Backpack Program! There are over 900 students in grades K-8 living in Juniata County that are eligible for our program. Are you one of them?! Don't miss out on this awesome program! Students are eligible if they receive free or reduced lunches at school. That's it! Stop in to register any Wednesday or Saturday from 1:00 - 5:00 or call 436-9718 for more information. Must bring ACCESS card. What is the program? Each week during summer vacation, registered students in grades K-8 can come in, receive a really nice, heavy-duty backpack, and fill it with a weeks' worth of lunches and snacks! Trust us, you do NOT want to miss this program if you are eligible!
2. In May, the Food Pantry served 323 families, a total of 898 individuals. Special thanks to Free Spring Church of the Brethren for providing volunteers for May. If your church or organization would like to sponsor a month and provide volunteers, please call us! If you are an individual who is being led to serve, we have some wonderful opportunities for you! Call or email for more information!
3. HELP WANTED! Are you familiar with Microsoft Access and Windows 8?? We could really use your expertise in getting our computer system updated! Please call 436-9718.
4. Top Needs for the upcoming month: Fresh garden produce, other foods, dish soap, household cleaners, paper products, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues. Don't throw away those plastic grocery bags! We use upwards of 600 plastic bags in a single full shift!
5. Attention Gardeners! As you start harvesting those veggies, remember that the Pantry accepts all fresh produce. (Unfortunately we are prohibited from accepting home-canned or homemade items.)
6. Donations are slowing down for the summer season, please keep us in mind. Hunger doesn't take a vacation!
7. After a sudden change of venue, the Big Tree Music Festival was held on Sunday, June 15. Very special thanks to the Port Royal Lions for allowing the festival to move to the Lions Club Park at the very last minute! The weather was perfect, attendance was high, the bands were incredible, and the event raised over $2,000 for the Pantry! Also, a BIG THANK YOU to the Work Campers that visited the county in June! They hosted a food drive and donated 193 pounds of non-food items (soap, toothbrushes, etc) and - WOW - 1,222 pounds of food!!
8. Many thanks to the WJUN Liberty Weekend Committee, and Country 92.5's hosts Mel Thomas & Matt Dillon for the great Country Showdown on June 29! A big crowd turned out for the six competing country singers. Special thanks to Dave & Linda Groninger for providing beef BBQ, hotdogs & sauterkraut, and to Pat Brown and her magnificent kitchen crew for their yummy baked goods, and for keeping the spectators well fed! The generous crowd donated 315 pounds of food and $615!!!
May Update HAPPY SPRING!!
1. As you know, spring is a time of renewal and change, and we have a big change for the Pantry! Effective May 19 (next week), our NEW hours will be Tuesdays from 9-5 and Saturdays from 9-12. This will allow us to serve our clients more efficiently, and offer weekday morning appointments for our clients.
2. Turkey Valley Distribution is this Saturday, May 17. The Juniata County Food Pantry will hold a distribution of food and other groceries for families who live at the eastern end of the county on Saturday, May 17, 10:00 to11:00 AM, at Turkey Valley United Methodist Church located on Rt. 235 between Maze and Seven Stars. To be eligible for ANY Juniata County Food Pantry distribution, families must live in Juniata County, meet certain income guidelines and be referred by an authorized service agency or their local church. For more information about eligibility or to sign up for the Turkey Valley distribution, please contact the Juniata County Food Pantry, 436-9718.
3. STUFF THE BUS! We just has a super fun event called "Stuff the Bus" to collect donations for our Summer Backpack Program! Special thank you to Helen Casner (Bus 6) for donating the fuel and her time to drive us all over the county to collect donations at: Walker, Fayette, Monroe and Fermanagh Elementary schools, and TJHS. We literally "STUFFED" the bus with 357 pounds of food for the Backpack Program. Our big winners were Fermanagh and Monroe! Fermanagh collected 218 items and Monroe collected 87! A huge THANK YOU to our participating schools! (JHS was not done collecting at the time of our pick up.)
4. Summer Backpack Program! If your child is in grades K-8 and participates in the Free/Reduced Lunch program, he/she is invited to sign up for the Summer Backpack Program. This program is free to qualifying students. Each week during summer vacation, on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, you and your child may visit the Pantry to fill a free backpack with nutritious food for the week. (lunches and snack) To enroll you child(ren), please report to the Pantry at 114 N Main St, Mifflintown, on Wednesday, June 11 or Saturday, June 14 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm. You must present your Access card. For more information, call the Pantry at 436-9718.
5. Mark your calendars! Big Tree Music Festival will be held on Sunday, June 15 as a benefit for the Pantry. More details coming soon!
6. Reminder as you are planting your gardens - the Pantry accepts all fresh produce!
February 2014 Update
In December 2013, the Food Pantry served 375 families, for a total of 1080 individuals!
Thanks to overwhelming community (that means YOU!) support and our partnership with local branches of the Kiwanis, Boy Scouts, and Salvation Army, we were able to provide over 400 families with both a Thanksgiving meal and a Christmas meal!
We are so grateful for the amazing amount of support we received during the traditional "giving months" of November and December. We wish we could pack that up and savor it throughout the entire year, but we can't. The community's needs are constant and year-round, especially during this season of "Heat or Eat," when so many of our friends and neighbors have to choose between buying food or fuel. Our donations have dropped significantly after the holidays, so we really need your help!
Right now, we particularly need: dish soap, household cleaners, laundry detergent, non-perishable foods, toilet paper, diapers, baby and personal care items. Cash and gift cards (especially for Weis and WalMart) are always needed. Donations after hours can be placed in our vestibule. Cash or gift cards can be placed in the mail slot inside the vestibule.
March 2014 Update One
In January 2014, we served 339 families, a total of 946 Juniata County residents. There is a wealth of information on our new website – jcfoodpantry.com – including how you can help or how to get help. Please visit our site and “like” us on Facebook!
Donations have slowed to an alarmingly low level, and we are concerned. Even though we are currently struggling tremendously to make ends meet, we are choosing to focus on our blessings, like our incredible community support! GREATEST MARCH NEEDS: CASH, GIFT CARDS (LOCAL GROCERY OR WAL*MART), ALL NON-PERISHABLE FOODS, DISH SOAP, ALL-PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS, LAUNDRY DETERGENT, PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS.
In 1982, four local churches started the Food Pantry to address the issue of hunger in our county. Of the seventy-plus churches in the county, the majority serve the community through us by organizing food drives and fundraisers, donating money and food, and supplying a most precious resource – time. Churches supply many volunteers both in the Pantry and at our alternate distribution sites, and as members of our board of directors. We truly couldn’t operate without the ongoing and tremendous support of our local churches.
One church that has gone way above and beyond the call has been Matamoras United Methodist Church in Spruce Hill. In addition to donating approximately 3000 pounds of food and supplies each year, they regularly supply volunteer hours and manual labor. They raised funds for our walk-in freezer/cooler, replaced old lighting, performed other repairs and so much more. Matamoras, we thank you!
March Update #2 - Critical
In February 2014, the Pantry served 311 families. This is an increase of nearly 10% over February of 2013, when we served 287 families. Unfortunately, our income for February has taken a whopping 60% nosedive from last year, while our expenses have risen considerably. Friends, we’re in trouble, and while we haven’t hit the panic button quite yet, we desperately need your help.
There’s no “pretty” or “polite” way to say it, but here it is: We need money.
We are suffering from the same strain that this hard winter has put on many families. The cost of heating and electricity has tripled from last year. Our roof is in disrepair and is being replaced. (Thank you Rickenbaugh Building Supply for so generously re-roofing our building at cost!) We are still paying off a huge bill for the installation of our cooler/freezer unit. More importantly, we are faced daily with an increase in clients. Taxes, insurance, and more expenses with every envelope that comes in the mail…
Unless we can bring significant funds into the Pantry, and quickly, we are going to have to consider the possibilities of cutting our hours, reducing or eliminating services, and reducing the amount of supplies we can offer. It breaks our hearts to even consider the possibility that some of our friends and neighbors that need fed could be turned away. Please help us prevent that from happening! Our entire purpose is to feed every person who comes our way.
We operate on donations, the bulk of which come from churches. We’re pleading with you now – we need your help. Every dollar we get keeps us afloat, and keeps food on the tables of those who need it most. It costs approximately $12,000 per month to operate the Pantry. If you would like to know more, we encourage you to ask!
In spite of these struggles, however, we are secure in God’s provision, and our future is securely in His hands. We exist only by the grace of God, and we are praying that you, as churches and as individuals, will feel led to give generously to help us help the community. Our mission is to serve God by serving his children. This, we will do until every penny, and every avenue, has been exhausted. We are so appreciative of all your support, and we ask not only for your donations, but for your prayers that our mission will not only eke by, but flourish and expand.