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Helping the hungry at Carbondale food pantry

Volunteers for Catholic Social Services in Carbondale saw a record number of people turn up for their Thanksgiving food distribution.

CARBONDALE, Pa. — As volunteers prepared for the Catholic Social Services Thanksgiving food giveaway on River Street in Carbondale, there was plenty of food and certainly, no shortage of gratitude.

"I think it's an amazing thing; I even use it sometimes. I mean, it's there for whoever needs it. It makes me feel good to actually come and help," Trish Smith said.

Many of the volunteers who showed up early to help fill bags with food have been helped by the agency before.

"I walked about four miles. I came down to help out. They help us out. I'm from Toledo, and I got a lot of help there from places, and I helped out too, so I figured I might as well keep doing it here," said John Zakrzewski.

Catholic Social Services planned to feed about 300 people for the holiday. This is the biggest distribution they've done yet, even though they have been doing them once a month since the summer.

Catholic Social Services brought back the big monthly food distribution when volunteers noticed that the shelves inside the food pantry were emptying a lot faster.

"In June or July, we started doing them monthly again because I could see my pantry numbers just going up and up. Especially when school started, that's when everything just went haywire," said Michelle Santana, Catholic Social Services.

People lined up for blocks down River Street for the ingredients to make Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, but Santana says the reality is that many families will try to make this food stretch beyond the holiday.

"Food insecurity is always big, but I see my numbers climbing again. It's almost close to what I had done when the pandemic first started."

So, this team will keep doing this long after the holiday season has come and gone.

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