It didn’t take long for Shane Harner and a group of classmates from Northeastern Middle School to unload a van full of donated food for the
It didn't take long for Shane Harner and a group of classmates from Northeastern Middle School to unload a van full of donated food for the Northeastern Food Pantry in East Manchester Township. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- BIL BOWDEN)

Gary Peeling pushed a shopping cart across the floor in a church multipurpose room and parked it beside a stage, where boxes of macaroni-and-cheese, instant mashed potatoes and dry cereal were stacked.

Peeling, 69, of Springettsbury Township, is a volunteer for the Northeastern Food Pantry. On Wednesday, he was grateful to see staff and students from Northeastern Middle School who had collected non-perishable food items that they brought to the pantry.

Students, staff and the community collected more than 1,900 food items that were delivered to the pantry.

The food will help fill a dwindling supply on the pantry's shelves, Peeling said.

And help is needed.

Lately, the pantry -- located at Starview United Church of Christ in East Manchester Township -- has seen a sharp increase in the number of people who need food, said Tom Heiland of Conewago Township. Heiland, his wife, Sundra, and about 50 others volunteer to work for the pantry. Tom Heiland also serves on the pantry's board of directors.

The pantry, which is open five days a week and also helps people with utility and other living expenses, had been serving between 200 and 250 people per month, he said. In February, that number grew to more than 300 people a month.

"There have been more people looking for assistance and help," Heiland said, and he added that some clients say they can't afford to buy food because of a job loss in the family.


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"There's a lot of new people coming. They're grateful for the help."

The pantry gets funding and supplies from several local churches and community organizations, he said. More help comes from state and federal governments through the York County Food Bank, Heiland said.

But, as demand rises, more supply will be needed, he said.

"Times are tough," he said.

ABOUT THE PANTRY

The Northeastern Food Pantry was started in the 1970s to help people in the community with food and living expenses.

Today, the pantry -- located in Starview United Church of Christ, 4832 N. Sherman St. Ext. in East Manchester Township -- serves thousands of qualified residents that live in Northeastern School District.

Clients are eligible to get food from the pantry every 30 days by appointment.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate food, call 266-6785.