New freezer expands offerings at food bank

Photo by Amy Cherry St. Marys Christian Food Bank board members and volunteers were joined by local Walmart representatives as they are shown in front of the organization's new freezer made possible through a $25,000 grant from Walmart. Shown from left to right in the first row is Betsy Roberts, vice-president, Larry Johnson, president, Jon Dilley, Heather Best of Walmart, Tara Pfeufer, Walmart general manager, and Robert Luchinni, volunteer. In the second row are Georgia Wagner, board member, John Roidt, v
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Over the past 34 years the St. Marys Christian Food Bank has supplied food to those in need throughout the community. Their efforts continue today as are increasing their offering of healthier food options thanks to the installation of a new freezer.
A $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation made the purchase of the freezer possible. This marks the second year the organization has received the grant. Last year they received a $28,000 grant used to install a 10x14 walk-in cooler.
The food bank was one of only nine organizations in the Pennsylvania which received the grant through Walmart's State Giving Program.
"We needed a bigger freezer to accommodate the increase in frozen foods we receive twice a week from Walmart," explained Larry Johnson, food bank board of directors president.
Wednesday was a prime example of the need for space as food bank volunteers collected 1,110 lbs. of donated food from the local Walmart store, who provides twice weekly donations to the organization.
The new 12x14 freezer is nearly 1.5 times larger than their previous 10-year-old model which was breaking down at times.
"The reason we get so much is because we can store it. There are so many food banks that don't have the ability to freeze or refrigerate so they can't take this stuff. It has been a gift to have that ability," said Georgia Wagner, a current board member who has been a volunteer with the organization since its inception.
The addition of the freezer comes at a much needed time as they plan to stock it next week with up to 170 turkeys for Thanksgiving. A helpful tip sheet on how to prepare and cook a turkey will also be provided to clients.
On average the food bank serves 130 families each month. There are as many as 200 families in their computer system, however not all of them visit each week.