The Nazareth Area FOOD BANK
Our Story – We are an all-volunteer, non-profit, federally tax exempt 501 (c)(3) organization
The Nazareth Area Food Bank has been providing food for families in the Nazareth, Pa., area for about 35 years. Currently, approximately 240 families and individuals – a total numbering well over 400 people, including more than 200 children – are served monthly.
Unfortunately, because of lingering economic and under-employment problems in our region, the need remains great. We’re seeing more young families and many elderly people who say they never envisioned having to turn to a food bank for food.
For most of its history, the Food Bank operated in St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church but in September 2008 we acquired our own building – a 130-year-old former railroad freight station.
Food for the Nazareth Area Food Bank comes from donations of non-perishable food items from individuals, area churches, schools, businesses and Scouting organizations, with the remainder bought with monetary donations from individuals, members of many churches in the Nazareth Area, local businesses, service clubs and other organizations.
Basic non-perishables include canned or jar goods, such as vegetables, beans, fruit, soups, pasta sauce and meals such as stew and ravioli; boxed items, such as breakfast cereal, spaghetti, macaroni & cheese, rice or noodles; canned tuna or salmon and chicken. We also give a loaf of fresh bread, a portion of packaged frozen meat and at least one pound of frozen vegetables. During spring and summer, a dedicated team of volunteers maintains a garden that produces fresh vegetables for clients.
Once a month — on the second Tuesday and following Wednesdays and Saturday each month – our clients receive a set of two grocery bags containing the items described above. We try to make sure that each set of groceries is nearly identical, which means we think in counts of at least 240 of each item we provide.
We try to make those packages of groceries as nutritious as possible. Yet we know that this amount of food – or even double portions for larger families – won’t feed our clients for an entire month, so we’re really trying to help by complementing what food they’re able to obtain by other means.
We are regional in nature in that our only criterion is that clients must reside within the municipalities that make up the Nazareth Area School District – the boroughs of Nazareth, Tatamy and Stockertown, as well as Lower Nazareth, Upper Nazareth and Bushkill Townships.
Our food bank is run entirely by volunteers on donations from the community, so the need remains great.
Buying cheapest available brands for the items listed above, we estimate that each set of groceries we give out costs between $35 and $40 a month – not including the donated meat products.
We are blessed that the Nazareth area has shown itself to be a very caring and giving community for those in need.
A personal memory from 101 year old Elsie Frey.
In 2000 Elizabeth (Betty) Huth asked the churches in the Nazareth Ministerium to each recruit a member for the fledgling organization, and a board of directors was formed. Betty appointed the officers initially. The board met monthly to discuss needs and how to better serve the residents who used the services, as well as deciding what items to request from churches to stock the shelves and fill the bags. Eventually, the board incorporated and became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We functioned in the space loaned to us by St. John’s Lutheran church until we outgrew it and began a search for a larger home. In 2008, through the generosity of St. John’s Lutheran Church, neighboring churches, area businesses and individuals, the board of directors found and purchased the old train depot at 529 South Main Street to house the Nazareth Area Food Bank’s permanent home.