New mobile food pantry helps feed Honey Brook families

A shelve holds various bottles of juices at a food pantry.

A new Mobile Food Pantry helps feed families in the Honey Brook area.

The need is definitely there, said Ken Ross, who is spearheading the pantry.

A Honey Brook Mobile Food Pantry will be held the last Wednesday of every month, noon to 6 p.m., at Good Food Distribution Center, 5064 Horseshoe Pike in Honey Brook. The pantry is run by community volunteers and Chester County Food Bank. The monthly pantry started in January.

The purpose of the pantry is to test the need to permanently serve eligible clients in the Twin Valley School District (income 150 percent poverty level), while providing supplemental food assistance, said Ross, an Exton resident. In March more than 450 eligible clients in the Twin Valley School District were served. Need is quite high, particularly in the mobile home communities along Rt. 322.

Comparing the area served by the Downingtown pantry, it serves a population of three times the size, but the number of those living in poverty in Honey Brook is 90 percent of the Downingtown area, explained Ross.

The rate of poverty is 15.1 percent in Honey Brook vs. 5 percent in the Downingtown service area. Since that pantry serves 750 families per month, Id be confident in serving 500 monthly in Honey Brook, said Ross.

Flyers have been distributed throughout nearly 15 mobile home communities, covering more than 800 residences, several churches, and the Honey Brook Elementary School, said Ross.

My personal interest in this project stems from having run the Lords Pantrys Board of Directors for the past seven years. During that time we saw countless numbers of individuals from the Honey Brook area seeking food support services in Downingtown, where services are intended to be provided to residents of the Downingtown School District, said Ross.

These families, mostly from the Twin Valley School District, consistently expressed their eligibility and need and difficulty in accessing consistent service in their area.

A detailed demographic research study began last June, followed by months of assessment of existing services and the development of dozens of local relationships from all walks of life.

Data included 33 percent of Twin Valley School District students receive free or reduced lunch, 15 percent of families in Honey Brook Township live below poverty level and income levels are below $50,000, according to research data provided by Ross.

Weve reached the tentative conclusion that the local hunger need far exceeds the existing resources and that the communitys desire to help is clearly evident, said Ross.

Starting in January, the Chester Food Bank tested that conclusion and funded a project for a six-month mobile pantry for Honey Brook residents in need of food assistance. The pantry is open to Chester County residents living in the Twin Valley School District or immediate surrounding area.

Food pantry patrons receive non-perishable food items, dairy and fresh produce on a first come, first served basis. Good Food Inc. (Zook Molasses Company) donated cafeteria space in its office and warehouse complex west of the manufacturing plant on 322.

They are gracious and helpful people with no knowledge or experience in what we are attempting to do. When you enter the driveway of the blue buildings, proceed past the office entrance and park and enter near doors 7/8. The space we are using will be clearly defined by two hallways and the cafeteria and well want to avoid the actual warehouse space.

If you have a question about qualifying for the Honey Brook Mobile Food Pantry, contact Phoebe Kitson at the Chester County Food Bank 610-873-6000 or pkitson@chestercountyfoodbank.org.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.