SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Thousands of people are expected to pack downtown Scranton this weekend for the city’s annual Saint Patrick’s Parade. One of the groups marching in the parade is trying to turn the celebration into a mission of charity. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains the plan to help fill a major need in the community.
Surveying the shelves on Thursday, Saint Ann Basilica’s Food Pantry volunteer Ed Ingoldsby checked out the inventory. Although the pantry is pretty well stocked, that’s not the case for many others that help the hungry. “Their shelves are bare. They really need help,” he said.
It’s why Mr. Ingoldsby helps spearhead a food drive during the Scranton Saint Patrick’s Parade. His group, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, marches in the 6th Division. AOH volunteers collect non-perishable food donations from parade goers. The drive helps fill a critical gap. “Christmas, Thanksgiving everybody does a food drive or a dinner and that’s great. But this time of the year they’re running low and it’s a great opportunity for us to replenish those drives,” said Mr. Ingoldsby.
Before parade day ever steps off, the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ effort is already underway here at St. Peter’s Cathedral. A second collection is taken during the traditional parade day mass. That money is then used to purchase food.”
One of the beneficiaries is St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen which feeds upwards of 200 people in need a day. “People are hungry every day and I think St. Francis really caters to that,” said St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen volunteer Dennis Mundt.
With so many who would otherwise go hungry, the parade food drive couldn’t come at a better time. Volunteers like Mr. Mundt hopes before the crowd heads out for a parade day celebration, they’ll remember the less fortunate. “We put those two things together, we have a good time. You know, we give back to our community. That says a lot about Scranton as a whole and northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Any money donated to the Ancient Order of Hibernians during the parade will be used to purchase food. The food donations will be distributed on Monday to several pantries in Lackawanna County.