A Source of Strength for This Patron-Caregiver

By Dave Warner

Over time, many of us volunteers have come to think of the patrons of the food cupboard as friends.

We get to know the people who shop here fairly well, sharing family news and bemoaning the weather.

 And these bonds are built quite often without ever getting to learn each other’s last names.

 Take, for example, a conversation I had the other day with a 60-something-aged woman, who needed a hand unloading her shopping cart. Her car was parked on a slope on Walnut Street, next to the United Methodist Church, where the food cupboard is open for patrons on Thursdays.

While I wheeled her shopping cart down that hill — no easy task — and loaded her groceries into her car’s trunk, we chatted a bit.

She told me she is a caregiver. She helps her husband, who needed an amputation of one leg at the knee, and takes care of her 80-something mom, too.

She does all this even though she herself had to have surgery on one of her knees. 

Even with all that, maybe because of all that, she said, while helping to load groceries into her car, “God is great.”

She was profuse in acknowledging how big a help our pantry is in her life, and that of her mom and husband.

Money is a big issue in her household. She has been retired for two years.

They get along somehow, amazingly, on $156 per month, which puts a punctuation mark on the need for food in her household. 

God is great indeed.


Dave Warner is among the dozens of volunteers who help out at the food cupboard each week. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry.



Strength in the Face of Adversity


By Dave Warner

Pantry patrons are special folks, to be sure.

“I’m always happy,” a patron told me, smiling warmly as we packed her weekly groceries into her car.

And yet I know she has plenty of reasons to feel otherwise. She’s dealing with some real physical impairments that restrict her in many ways. Plus, she is struggling with a housing issue nowadays, too.

And yet, and yet – she professes to be always happy, at a time when many of us would be saddened by such a plight.

It is patrons like her, with their strength in the face of adversity, that make it a privilege for volunteers like me to work each week at the Loaves & Fishes pantry. Many of the patrons exude a sense of joy and resilience and are grateful to receive food for their families. I am thankful that they and their children will not go to bed hungry.

My weekly job is to walk patrons and their shopping carts to their cars and help them unload their groceries. I was with another patron recently who sighed as we approached her car in the church’s parking lot.

A series of troublesome issues had befallen her.

She’d had a leaking pipe in her house’s plumbing system and a series of broken appliances, all of which would cost money to repair.

After she gave voice to those woes, she, too, came up with a smile as I lifted her groceries into her car.

How does she cope with all that?

Her eyes looked upward.

She didn’t say much, but it was clear that her faith is what is carrying her through.


Dave Warner is one of dozens of volunteers who help out at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.




Her Smile 'Lights Up the Whole Pantry'

By Dave Warner

He’s a star.

The little boy is only a few weeks old, and yet he arrives at the pantry each week with his mom.

His big sister, 3 years old, used to be a frequent visitor, but now she often stays home with a family member while her mom and infant brother do the shopping.

You’d have to have a cold heart indeed not to like this family.

For one thing, mom has a smile that lights up the whole pantry, which she manages while picking up the family’s groceries each week.

The other volunteers and I miss seeing the 3-year-old girl, who has charmed us all, but mom can only handle so much and still get the food her family needs.

In addition to her little people, and her working husband, she cares for her aging father, who is ailing, and has to eat a special diet.

That’s one infant feeding, one 3 year old who likes to eat, a hungry husband, and her dad.

And still, the mom smiles. And we do, too.


Dave Warner is a volunteer at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.

Our Fresh Produce Stand

By Dave Warner

One of the really wonderful developments at the pantry in the last year or so is the big increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables we offer our patrons every week.

Volunteers Sandra and Lance, who regularly staff that area of the pantry, work hard to make sure that our patrons get the fresh produce that is beneficial for them and their families.

From the perspective of somebody, like me, who weighs the food carts, and then helps people to their cars, it feels as though our patrons are spending even more time at the good-for-you produce tables.

Here’s just one example. Just before the Memorial Day holiday, the pantry was busy, busy, busy. And, as usual, we had abundant quantities of fruit and vegetables.

“Eggplant?” asked a volunteer of a patron.

She shook her head no.

“How about some squash?

Once again, a no.

“How about peaches?” 

The patron’s eyes lit up, and she went home with a big smile on her face, perhaps looking forward to a holiday picnic with plenty of fresh peaches.


Dave Warner is a volunteer at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.

'Welcome to the Pantry'

By Dave Warner

She looked a bit lost, and then I spotted the red tag in her hand as she approached the scale we use to weigh the amount of food leaving the food cupboard with our patrons.

That tag, of course, means she was a newcomer, an identification the volunteers use to make sure we help new folks who are unfamiliar with the pantry.  So, I made sure I gave her extra attention as I wheeled her shopping cart to her car.

When we arrived at the sidewalk in front of the church, she hesitated, and looked very sad. I paused, and then I saw the moistness in her eyes, just on the verge of tears.

“This is the first time I can have my grandchildren over at my house to feed them,” she explained. “I never had food for them before.”

And then she cried, and she put her arms around me, and I hugged her, too. It was just the two of us, standing on the sidewalk with a light drizzle coming down. We both cried.

She was happy, and I was happy for her.

“Welcome to the pantry,” I told her.

Dave Warner is a volunteer at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.

A Note of Appreciation: O'Neill's Food Market, Giant Food Store in Warminster

We want to thank two of our area food stores for their recent work, helping to fill the shelves at the food pantry. O'Neill's Food Market in Glenside collected 113 pounds of food for the cupboard, while the Giant Food Store in Warminster donated 73 Thanksgiving Meal Kits, totaling 568 pounds of food. We very much appreciate your partnership as we work together to reduce hunger in Montgomery County.

Church Bake Sale on Election Tuesday to Benefit Our Food Pantry

The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Jenkintown will hold a bake sale on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The proceeds will benefit the Jenkintown food pantry.

So, please stop by the church’s fellowship hall (where voting for that ward takes place) and pick up some of their delicious goodies. And don’t forget to vote!


Thank You Jenkintown Rotary!

The Rotary Club of Jenkintown recently made a $600 donation to the Jenkintown Food Cupboard. The Rotary Club has long been a generous supporter of the food cupboard, and we are enormously grateful for the donation and for your continuing vote of confidence in our effort to reduce hunger among our fellow Montgomery County citizens. Thank you!

More Fresh Produce Every Week


This summer, we increased the amount of fresh produce we provide our patrons. Each week, our patrons can choose from a bounty of fresh vegetables that are rich in nutrients. Though the inventory varies from week to week, we've seen our produce section overflowing with fresh lettuce, corn on the cob, green peppers, potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes, onions and bags of carrots. No wonder this section of our shopping room has become so popular!  

We LOVE our new scale!

Yes we ARE that excited about a scale.  The Cupboard reports to various agencies how many pounds of food we give out each week. Until today, these poor guys had to lift about 4,500 pounds each week out of the shopping carts and onto the table scale for accurate records. Thanks to an extremely generous donation, we were able to purchase a floor scale.  Now our patrons can simply roll their shopping cart over the scale and they are on their way.


Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre Event!


Our friends over at Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre http://www.pulleyandbuttonholetheatre.org/home.html have graciously offered to designate Jenkintown Food Cupboard as their charity of choice for the upcoming production of Mr. Burns, a posteletric play on October 21, 22, 28 & 29.!  Patrons are encouraged to make a donations (either food or funds) to us on the night of the play.  Get our and enjoy some quality neighborhood theatre and support us in the process.  A win/win!

Sad Day at the Cupboard

Our friend and long time volunteer Rich Hagge has passed away today.  We first met Rich as a patron 3 years ago and he wanted to give back and stay on as a volunteer.  He soon became an indispensable part of the team.  He was known for his get it done attitude, dedication to his family and his sarcastic sense of humor! :).  Our thoughts are with his wife Helen, daughter Kim, and apple of his eye granddaughter London.  Rich has touched and will be missed by many. 

New sign in policy

We have changed our sign in procedures to reduce early morning congestion on Summit Ave. Patrons, please do not arrive before 10:45am.  At 11 am, sign in will begin.  Everyone that signs in between 11-11:45 will pick a lottery number to indicate your place in line.  The lottery will be picked just before noon. There is no longer an advantage to getting here early.  If you arrive after initial sign in, you will be given the next number in line after the lottery folks.  If you are traveling with another person, we suggest you not arrive until after 12:30 so you can do your shopping together.  We know that change is hard, but we feel that this will address the parking and traffic concerns of our neighbors while keeping the distribution fair for everyone.  Thank you.

Doing what we can to end food waste

Did you know that here at the Cupboard we accept donations from 12 local grocers and restaurants every week?  In 2015, that added up to 78 THOUSAND POUNDS of fresh and frozen food we could offer our patrons instead of watching it go to waste.  If you have a large car and can lift a heavy load we are always looking to have substitute volunteers at the ready.  Shifts vary.