The HV Mobile Food Pantry needs your help!

Wednesday mornings are busy at the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry. We collect produce from our partners at Rolling Harvest, Howell Living History Farm, and Pennington Quality Market. Our team of volunteers (pantry heroes) sort the products into 100+ bags for distribution. Next, our drivers collect the produce into grocery bags (packed earlier in the week by more volunteers) and deliver them to our neighbors in need. It may all seem chaotic, but the energy is high, the volunteers are enthusiastic, and the system works.

Last week, into this wonderful mass of activity, a family went into distress. Normally we don’t have walk-in customers (hence the word Mobile in our name), but the mother explained that she had two small children and no food in the house. Shannon and Carol, two of our volunteers, fell in love with what they were doing, helping the family pack bags with essentials, and telling them how we can help them on a regular basis. I’ll let Shannon tell the rest of the story.

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“I’ve never seen a child so happy about food. The boy was probably in 3rd gradeapprox school year, and he was just so excited that he could have apple sauce-apple sauce! He couldn’t be sweeter or more appreciative. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Because we are a mobile food pantry, we don’t often get to see the true relief and appreciation our customers experience when they receive our deliveries. This week all the volunteers saw what their hard work means to our neighbors in need.

Since the HVRSD, Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, Pennington Borough, and the HV YMCA came together to open the pantry in March 2020, we have provided real relief to over 300 families in the Hopewell Valley. Today we deliver groceries and fresh produce to about 80 families in the valley, and another 25 families pick up the same at our Saturday morning grab and go events.

Thanks to the help of CHS Video Production students and staff, we put together a short video showing the memory in action, which you can watch here.

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None of this would be possible without your support. The Hopewell Valley community has been remarkably generous with volunteer time, donated food, and organized food drives. About 40% of all the food we distribute comes from local donations. Another 40% comes from Mercer Street Friends, the regional food bank. The rest we buy from product distributors and local stores.

In the two and a half years since the pantry opened, we have spent $66,693.85 on food. We spent another $7,179.70 on a commercial refrigerator, shelves, bins, bags and other program supplies. We paid for it with donations made early in the COVID pandemic. Those funds are almost exhausted, and we need your help.

We ask that you make a gift so that we can continue to buy fresh produce and other groceries for our neighbors in need.

We aim to raise $40,000 to carry us through the next year. That equates to $7.50 per week for each family we serve. We have a variety of donation levels for you to consider:

  • Snack Club: $50 or more
  • Breakfast Club: $115 or more feed our neighbors for a day
  • Lunch Club: $805 or more will feed our neighbors for a week
  • Dinner Club: $3,450 or more feeds our neighbors for a month
  • Sustainer: Any recurring monthly gift
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Finally, you can always visit us at HVYMCA.org/Pantry/ to learn more about the pantry, sign up for deliveries, volunteer, or make a gift. Thank you for all the support you have given us, and it is heartening to know that we in Hopewell Valley can count on you to help our neighbors in need.

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