Local community rallies to collect egg cartons for food pantry

May 17, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • James Buchanan Middle School teacher Kristy Hinkle spearheaded a school-wide collection of egg cartons to donate to Franklin County food pantries so they had something to put their donated eggs in to give to those in need. Pictured are back row: Brian McCauley; second row: Patrick Hunt and Kristy Hinkle; front row: Zachary Wilkerson, Jeff Kline and Evan Meyers
Photo by Roxann Miller

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness mean the most.

When Amy Kine, secretary of the American Legion Riders Post 517 Mercersburg,  was organizing a motorcycle ride to benefit Franklin County food pantries, she came across something that shocked her.

Not only did the pantries need food, but they also needed something that most people routinely toss in the trash — egg cartons.

Hillside Poultry Farms of Chambersburg, Pa., donates eggs, in bulk, to South Central Community Action Program for the counties’ six food pantries.

But the pantries don’t have anything to put the eggs in to distribute them to the people who come to the food pantries.

“They donate eggs to us monthly, but the problem was we needed egg cartons to get them to the families,” said Melanie Shaffer, emergency services coordinator with SCCAP.

Shaffer mentioned the need to Kline, and she immediately put the wheels in motion to start “operation egg carton.”

She contacted Kristy Hinkle, her son Jeff’s eighth-grade teacher at James Buchanan Middle School, who rallied the school.

In about two weeks, JBMS students and teachers collected 3,317 egg cartons.

“Our district is very good about being supportive and community-minded,” Hinkle said. “So the minute our kids were asked to help out the community, they were right on it.”

She was surprised by the number of egg cartons collected.

“The kids always exceed our expectations in everything they do,” Hinkle said.

Shaffer said SCCAP gives between 600 and 1,000 dozen eggs a month to needy families, so the need for egg cartons is ongoing.

To donate egg cartons, residents can drop them off at their local food pantry or at the Chambersburg Food Pantry at 533 S. Main St. in Chambersburg, Shaffer said.

Shaffer was impressed by the students’ support of their community.

“It’s just so nice that such a small idea grew into such a large project. People just don’t realize that the smallest things make the biggest difference,” Shaffer said.

“Just those kids going home and saying to their parents, ‘Can we collect those egg cartons?’ has allowed us to get eggs out to people on a regular basis.”

Kline is thrilled she could help make operation egg carton a success.

“I couldn’t believe that the eggs were free, and all the food pantry needed to get them into the hands of people who needed them was a simple egg carton. I’m just glad that I could help,” Kline said.

Motorcycle fundraiser

Kline is now focusing her efforts on her next project: The American Legion Riders Food Pantry Ride to benefit SCCAP food pantries in Franklin County.

American Legion Riders Post 517 of Mercersburg will join American Legion riders throughout the county to raise money for SCCAP’s six county food pantries.

The ride is Saturday, July 28. Registration is between 9 and 10 a.m. at the St. Thomas (Pa.) Food Pantry at the St. Thomas United Methodist Church, 360 St. Thomas-Edenville Road, St. Thomas.

Cyclists will leave the pantry at approximately 10:30 a.m. and ride from the St. Thomas food pantry to food pantries in Greencastle, Waynesboro, Fayetteville and Orrstown before returning to St. Thomas.

Registration is $15 for riders and $10 for passengers. The ride is open to the public — you don’t need to be a member of the American Legion to participate.

Kline said the ride is to raise money for the SCCAP food pantries.

“There are people out there who are hungry, and things aren’t too great for people that do have jobs. I work, and my husband farms. I didn’t work for nine months last year, and it was rough,” Kline said. “When I was a single mother, I remember nights that I would be hungry so my kids would be able to have seconds. It’s beyond me that people go to bed hungry.”

The state of the economy is causing more people to seek help from food pantries.

In January 2011, Shaffer said SCCAP supplied food to 921 families or 2,000 people. One year later, that number jumped to 1,160 families and 3,200 people.

“We are seeing more and more two-parent working families,” Shaffer said. “I think there is a misconception that (people who use food pantries) don’t work, but we have seen very large increases in two-parent working families who just can’t make ends meet.”

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