Bread Basket of NEPA, helping military veterans in need Lackawanna County

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We’ve seen the need to help feed families and individuals struggling during the pandemic.

An organization in northeastern Pennsylvania that helps feed that need is now expanding its mission.

A place known for nourishing people’s souls also helps nourish their bodies. Elm Park United Methodist Church is one of six food pantries in northeastern Pennsylvania run by Bread Basket of NEPA.

The non-profit that’s been in existence since 1985 has been watching a disturbing trend: more and more people struggling to put food on the table.

“And we expect it to increase the need over the next year with the lack of stimulus and everyone in search of jobs,” Bread Basket of NEPA board member Rosemary Bohenek said.

Volunteers work to keep the food stocked and distributions running smoothly. More than 7,000 clients were served this past year.

“Each pantry in our system serves a certain zip code to cover different areas of the city,” Bread Basket of NEPA volunteer Gene Hopkins said.

This one helps people from central and south Scranton as well as Taylor, Moosic and Old Forge. But organizers recognized a need that’s based less on zip code and more about service.

And now Bread Basket of NEPA’s mission is expanding. Besides its’ established food pantries, it’s begun a weekly food distribution at a local VFW. The Military Share Pantry is hosted by VFW Post 25 on Rockwell Avenue.

“People got to realize how bad it is out there for veterans who aren’t working and don’t have an income to get the food,” VFW Post 25 CDR. James Kuchwara said.

“They’re proud vets and it’s very hard for them to ask for help, but it’s a much easier way to do it at a VFW where they’re comfortable,” Bread Basket of NEPA executive director Phoebe Wilson said.

This distribution includes both pre-packaged and freshly grown food to provide military families in need some free, nutritional food choices.

“It’s the most basic need. I don’t know if any of the other services work if you’re hungry,” Wilson said.

The weekly food distribution for military families happens Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at VFW Post 25 in Scranton.

Head to breadbasketnepa.com to learn more about the mission of Bread Basket of NEPA and how you can help.

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