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Hundreds of families flock to free food giveaway

As the coronavirus outbreak is costing more and more people their jobs, many are seeing the toll it's taking on their incomes.

DUNMORE, Pa. — Cars were bumper to bumper on Blakely Street and side streets as families came out to the St. Joseph's Center to stock up on free food.

The Friends of the Poor and Family to Family handed out free food Wednesday afternoon as many people have been forced out of work due to the coronavirus.

“I don't know where the next food is coming from, so this is very important,” said Tom Luddy, who came out from Scranton with his van loaded with his young children.

As the coronavirus outbreak is costing more and more people their jobs, many are seeing the toll it's taking on their incomes.

“Very stressful,” said Luddy. “I've got a quarter tank of gas; we got no money for rent and no bills. No food, the freezer's like empty, so we heard about this place, and we're coming to get help.”

“I think it's wonderful a lot of people are going to have a hard time I think, with this, it's going to be a big help,” said Lee Rabbetts from Old Forge.

“We are the grocery store for people who can't afford to go somewhere else, and they know that they can come here,” said Sr. Ann Walsh, the executive director of Friends of the Poor.

Sr. Walsh said the organization planned for about 1,000 people to show up, and volunteers helped Dunmore police and fire assist with traffic.

“We're just trying to get everybody off of Blakely Street as quickly as possible and safely and just keep everything organized in rows,” said volunteer Tara Cooper from Dunmore. “It's a great turnout.”

While the amount of people showing up for food is impressive, organizers said the amount of people showing up to help is even more so.

“We had no problem getting volunteers here, regular core of volunteers,” said volunteer Chris Speicer from Dunmore. “Sister's like a general, when she says we're marching, we get up, and we march.”

The Friends of the Poor's next free food giveaway will be its Easter Food Basket Giveaway Tuesday, April 7, at Scranton High School.

The food will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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