Local food bank cans hunger


Created by Big Spring Student, Hailey Barnhart

The Big Spring Area Food Bank began its monthly food distributions in 1990 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Plainfield to help community members who may not have had access to food banks in surrounding communities.  

“Two Lutheran congregations joined together and built a new church. They did not have the resources to finish the church sanctuary and build the warehouse where the food bank is housed. So they added on the part for the food bank and did not have to finish the sanctuary. They hold church in their general purpose room. It really speaks to the character of the church members,” said director Shani Shenk from the Big Spring Food Bank. Now since 2010, distributions have been made from the Big Spring United Lutheran Church.

Food is usually distributed on the last Monday of each month; however, holidays may change that schedule. Distributions range anywhere from 170 to 250 families living in the Big Spring School District. “I want students to know about us, so if their family is in need of food, we are there to help. It would also be nice for students who are in activities or clubs to come and get service hours,” said Shenk.

They receive donations, food and volunteers from local churches, businesses, individuals and community groups.  This includes corn, potatoes and other produce from local gardens and from the Big Spring United Lutheran Church garden. “It has certainly been a valuable service to the community,” said Margaret Butts, a volunteer since 1999 and a current member of its board of directors.

The food bank does not just distribute food, they also distribute toiletries. “Teachers across the district give toiletries to the food bank. Usually someone at the middle school collects all of the donations and then takes them to the food bank. On Sundays all of the food is organized,” said Christina Hagood, a teacher at Big Spring High School. Hagood takes the toiletries to the Fran Stewart and then she takes them to the food bank.  

The food bank does not really hold any special events, but the dental office in Newville holds a huge coat drive and those are all given out at their December distribution. Several churches and also DHL, a local parcel delivery company, distribute school supplies in August.

Those interested in contributing to this local food bank can drop the items off at 101 Crossroad School Rd, Newville, PA 17241.