In 2022, the Whitehall Community Food Pantry served 588 families. The need is great and is expected to increase during the summer when young people are out of school and unable to get meals there.
That is why the Whitehall High School chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions, along with help from the Drama Club, Junior and Senior English Honor Society, Big Buddies, Peer Helpers, RAVE and Student Council, is leading an effort during the month of March to stock the shelves of both the food pantry and the Country Cupboard, which provides food for high school students to take home for the weekend.
SADD president Louis Pratt said, “SADD is always trying to promote health and safety, so this food drive is a step in the right direction.”
Drop boxes for food and hygiene products are spread across town at various locations, including Broadway Market, Discount Warehouse, the Railyard Taproom and Restaurant and the school’s buildings.
The drive will conclude on Saturday, April 1, with a “Stuff a Truck” event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Railyard. The goal of the event is to fill the bed of a pickup truck – on loan from Ross Hometown Chevrolet – with nonperishable food and hygiene products. Anyone who brings items to “Stuff a Truck” on April 1 will receive a coupon for 10% off an entrée at the Railyard (limit of one coupon per person).
“Our vision for the Railyard has always been to benefit the community by providing a place where locals and tourists alike can get good food. Participating in the food drive is another way that we can support the community,” said Railyard co-owner Michael Putorti, who proposed the “Stuff a Truck.”
Added co-owner Cheryl Putorti, “Our job is to feed people. No person should go hungry. Unfortunately, too many people face food insecurity, so we are thrilled to partner with SADD to help get food to everyone in Whitehall who needs it.”
The food pantry, which is run entirely by three women who are between the ages of 77 and 80, is located in the former Knights of Columbus building on Broadway. It distributes food on Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. and provides special holiday meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
The food pantry receives fresh fruits and vegetables every Thursday through participation in Comfort Food Community, but otherwise relies on donations.
The food pantry and Country Cupboard particularly need the following items: cereal, canned vegetables (beans, peas, corn), baked beans, instant rice, instant mashed potatoes, ramen noodles, dry pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, canned chicken, peanut butter, jelly, saltine crackers, SpaghettiOs/RavioliOs, applesauce, boxed macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, canned soup, snacks (pudding cups, fruit cups, fruit snacks, granola or cereal bars, popcorn, trail mix/nuts), condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, ranch dressing), juice, hot chocolate and personal hygiene products (deodorant, body wash/bars of soap, shampoo, tooth brushes, toothpaste, floss, toilet paper, tampons/pads).
In addition to “Stuff a Truck,” the SADD Booster Club is hosting a bake sale on April 1 at Discount Warehouse, so be sure to stop by both.