New Love Center gears up for holiday distribution

JERSEY SHORE — This has been a very busy month as the New Love Center prepares for its Christmas box distribution Dec. 15 and provides emergency food needs for residents of the coverage area, according to Rev. Dr. Kerry Aucker, a member of the center’s board, who issued the following report.

“Many individuals and groups are bringing in donations day after day. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank provides extra products to give away, like fruits and produce such as pineapples and salad mix. Local people from Nippenose Valley donated an abundance of apples. Special thanks to those who purchase and donate diapers each month. For some families this is a help beyond words.

“Lingles and Weis Markets continue to bless us with donations that allow us to give out extras beyond the basic box. To Geisinger Jersey Shore, thank you for the commercial refrigerator and to Buttorffs Hardware for the truck to move it to the pantry. Thank you to First Quality for the 500 packs of bathroom tissue that will be distributed in December. And to the 170 volunteers who help The New Love Center Food Pantry each month.”

A total of 4,598 pounds of food were donated. Of that:

r 2,419 pounds came from churches, organizations, and individuals.

r 1,036 pounds came from the Elementary Schools Pack the Bus Food Drive.

r 711 pounds of mixed meats and other items came from Weis Market.

r 15 pounds of that food went to the cafe.

r 432 pounds of mixed meats and other items came from Lingle’s Market.

In November, 1,055 people were served. There were 80 new clients. A total of 417 households were served, including 29 new ones. A total of 247 volunteers donated 766 hours, and 83 senior boxes were distributed.

For January, the center is asking for 16-ounce jars of peanut butter.

There will be one distribution in December, on Dec. 15 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clients will register and get their regular box of food at the pantry at St. John Lutheran Church, then go down the street to the back of First United Methodist Church where they will get a Christmas box, turkey, potatoes and bathroom tissue. The New Love Center also will give out red Weis bags this month that people can use to carry their extra items. They are encouraged to bring them each month after that, to save the center from relying on plastic bags.

The Backpack Program is currently distributing 175 backpacks to students each week.

Starting in January, the hours will be extended on the second Friday of each month until 6 p.m. Starting Jan. 12, the center will be open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. to accommodate those who cannot come during the day. The afternoons are usually a slow time and clients are encouraged to come in the afternoon when there are fewer people.