By Adam Grobman
When is a closet not a closet? When it’s a food pantry!
Enclosed in what could be a coat closet in the lobby of Jewish Family Service is a food pantry open to all, containing foods donated by community members and organizations to help feed people needing a little extra help.
“It’s a free service,” says Chudney Lewis, who manages the pantry. “We have basic foods like peanut butter, tuna, pasta, and more.”
The pantry is divided into two sections: kosher and non-kosher. It is fully stocked, year-round and serves a diverse population of patrons.
“We have some regulars that come every couple weeks,” Chudney says. “But we also have clients who might just be a little short on grocery money this week, and they are welcome to come in and get something from the pantry.”
Chudney says that the pantry gets two big donations each year from local food drives, but also relies on regular community members, and even JFS clients who feel inclined to give back.
The most common needed items include tuna, canned goods and other non-perishables, cookies, and crackers. Chudney says that donors should check expiration dates before giving, and that people can drop food off at JFS at any time.
This year, JFS hopes to build upon the success of the pantry by expanding to offer winter coats and other cold-weather gear. While that effort is still up-and-coming, Chudney feels that the clients who utilize the food pantry service are grateful it exists.
“They know we’re always here,” she says. “We’re never going to turn anyone away. We can’t always give monetarily, but we can help someone have something to eat.”