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United Churches Food Pantry Feeds Those in Need

A few weeks back, I wrote an article about the growing issue of food insecurity, which can be defined as the lack of access to food of sufficient quantity or quality to meet a person’s basic nutritional needs.

According to the Department of Human Services, approximately 1.7 million people suffer from food insecurity daily in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture maintains that the causes of food insecurity are complex.

Already a growing problem, the COVID-19 pandemic made things worse by leaving hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians out of work and closing health services around the state for an extended period from which we have yet to recover fully.

Lack of awareness of existing resources is also a significant problem as federal, state, and local programs may be relatively unknown. Often, those most in need of resources have limited access to information and access to community support.

Older adults are among the most susceptible to food insecurity, as well as those with substance abuse problems, as these groups are becoming increasingly isolated.

In addition, families with infants and young children, coupled with a lack of transportation, may have difficulty obtaining quality food.

To help raise awareness of this growing problem, I would like to periodically highlight organizations in our region that are working hard to improve the conditions in our community.

One such organization is the United Churches Food Pantry. To help ease the strain on local individuals and families, the food pantry, run by United Churches of Lycoming County, offers a variety of produce and non-perishable food. “Many in the community are struggling with food insecurity for a variety of reasons, including being on a fixed income as a senior citizen or as someone who lives with a disability. In the particular scope of the United Churches of Lycoming County Food Pantry, we extend the love of God, provider of all good gifts, to those in need when we help our neighbors,” said Molly Eisley, pantry manager.

When asked what would happen to those it serves if the food bank was not in operation, Eisley responded, “Thankfully, we are not sure of what would happen to those who use our pantry if it were not in operation. The United Churches volunteers have been instrumental in keeping the pantry open for many years, and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank has been very supportive as well. If the pantry were to close, our neighbors would have to seek out food assistance elsewhere in the area.”

When asked how to get involved with the pantry, Eisley responded, “Dedicated volunteers are needed to keep the food pantry running smoothly.” A list of the weekly food pantry needs can be found at and United Churches of Lycoming County on Facebook. Donations are very appreciated!

The pantry is located at 202 E. Third St., Williamsport (Academy St. entrance), and is open to anyone needing food assistance. People interested will need to register with the pantry and bring a photo ID. It is open to accept donations on Mondays (except holidays) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or by appointment. It is open for food distribution on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon. It is also open the first Wednesday evening of each month from 6-8 p.m. If you or someone you know needs food assistance, please call the UCLC Food Pantry at 570-322-1657 and leave a message.