SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Lackawanna County food pantry that caters specifically to veterans is helping local heroes of all ages make it through some tough times and now they’re looking to expand.
The shelves at the Valhalla Food Pantry in Scranton are fully stocked and with good reason.
Every Friday dozens of veterans drop by officials with bread baskets of NEPA say they’ll provide food for around 70 military veterans and their families a month and 840 a year. Most of the food is donated by CEO Weinberg Food Bank, but private donations and grant money help fill the gap. this food is one of many services offered.
“We believe in a whole approach. Valhalla provides mental health services, counseling, and suicide intervention training. providing food may take the edge off a veteran in distress,” said James Mcelroy the office manager at Valhalla Veterans Services.
Instead of giving away pre-made boxes of food staples veterans here can pick and choose what they need off the shelf. There’s also a selection of fresh vegetables each Friday. Organizers say it gives veterans a chance to connect and often, trade stories of their military service.
“They feel comfortable, they’ll talk to each other about where they’ve been, where they served, and the things they’ve done. they’ll sit down. no rush,” says Bob Crane from Bread Basket NEPA.
Crane says they see a wide age range of veterans coming in. Some are in their 20s others served in World War II.
The partnership with the Valhalla and Bread Basket seems to be working and now officials are eyeing an expansion.
“Our veterans are one of the most underserved populations in the U.S. so anything Bread Basket can do to help we’re here for it,” added Phoebe Wilsom the executive director of Bread Basket.
“We’re looking specifically to expand into the Carbondale area because that population seems to be underserved. but we haven’t found a location to host us,” continued Wilson.
The Valhalla Veterans Pantry is located on Jackson Street in Scranton it’s open Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.