• Lifestyles

The Care Cabin is open and providing foods

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Jennifer Miller looked at foods with her 15-month-old son Bryson in arms, and the help of Mark Smith, a volunteer from Growing Lackawaxen on the opening day of the Care Cabin September 28. See the related photo gallery. Lifestyles photo by Katie Collins.

By Katie Collins Lifestyles Editor Follow Katie @Lifestyles51

LACKAWAXEN - Food is a necessity that some people struggle to afford. To assist those in need, the “Care Cabin” has been founded in Lackawaxen Township.

A community-based food pantry, Supervisor Jeff Shook said no one will be turned away because “If they’re in need, we’ll help them out.” September 28 marked the beginning of the pantry that was created by volunteers and building trades students from Wallenpaupack Area High School.

Community unites

Once it was realized some in the community were struggling, neighbors united to develop the Care Cabin a few years ago. Since then, numerous donations have been given from private donors and a collaboration was born with Second Harvest Food Bank. Tables stacked with vegetables, rice, peanut butter and more were available for people to pick and choose what they wanted September 28. There was a refrigerator and freezer full of steaks, hamburger meat, sausage, plus some as well.

Growing Lackawaxen, a nonprofit that sponsors activities in the township is hosting the pantry that accepts donations as well as works with the Second Harvest. Bergit Pinkston and other volunteers chose the available foods, which she said offered more than she expected because of the immense variety.

A volunteer from the beginning, Pinkston called the creation and evolution of the Care Cabin a “challenge,” because some people have been skeptical about the need for a pantry in this community. The reality is that, “hunger is something that hits many people.” For Pinkston she is “grateful for” things in her life, so taking part in the community-based resource is a chance to “give back.”

Different reasonings and needs

Jennifer Miller was at the Care Cabin on the opening day with her 15-month-old son Bryson. With Bryson in her arms, Miller said she chose a “little bit of everything,” that included spinach, water and hamburger meat to name a few of the foods. With a family of four, she expects the foods to help for a little more than a week. She said “every little bit helps” and the key is knowing how to cook and divide the foods evenly.

Sharon Bezyak and Margret Audello agreed that the Care Cabin is “nice” and a local resource because there was plenty of nutritious foods that will assist them with their dietary needs. A significant aspect though, is that the Care Cabin is “close to home” said Bezyak.

Lawrence McElroy is currently out of work and so, he was at the pantry because his family needs food. With a family of four, McElroy said there was a “very good variety” of foods with the cold cuts, pasta, frozen meats and “the essentials.” While he’s visited other pantries, the Care Cabin stands out, he feels because the volunteers were very friendly.

At the pantry, Agnes was hesitant to talk with Lifestyles, but she did share her first name. She called the Care Cabin “awesome,” because anyone can receive assistance. She explained that she’s been to pantries that are income based, which is problematic because although she is working, there are still many bills to be paid. The reality is that, “just because you’re working, it doesn’t mean you have a million dollars.” Looking in her bag of meats and vegetables, Agnes was surprised to find the amount of foods that will help her family of two. Overall, she was “very impressed” with the Care Cabin.

Everyone welcomed

Bergit Pinkston from Growing Lackawaxen looked at foods with Irene Gilbert on the opening day of the Care Cabin September 28. See the related photo gallery. Lifestyles photo by Katie Collins.

To utilize the pantry, Shook said it doesn’t matter if a person lives in Lackawaxen Township or not, but the family size will need to be known. Initially the Care Cabin was geared towards township residents when the idea was conceived two years ago, because the idea originated when it was learned that there were children in the area without food on the weekends.

The volunteers select which foods they feel the community prefers online and the only cost for Growing Lackawaxen is the $30 delivery charge. With the fresh meats and vegetables, Shook said the options are “phenomenal” because he too, was surprised at the vast variety.

Community helps

Shook called the construction and establishment of the Care Cabin a “group effort” because of the volunteerism of the building trades students, as well as the many professionals in the community. A $40,000 building, he estimated the structure would’ve cost $50,000 if not for the volunteers. Scott Furer from the Lackawaxen House has collected foods for awhile and for the Care Cabin he contributed $20,000 with the township giving the other $20,000. In the end, Shook said the building, “turned out beautiful.”

Because the Care Cabin is maintained by volunteers, Growing Lackawaxen will have fundraisers to help with items needed in the pantry, such as tables, signage, aprons and more.

Community events too

A volunteer with Growing Lackawaxen, Dotty Kerkowski said the organization’s goal is to “bring people of Lackawaxen together.” And so, through activities like the upcoming October 19 Pumpkin Party, such opportunities can happen. This is the fourth year for the family event, where there will be fun and games as well as every child will receive a pumpkin.

If a person is homebound, Shook said someone can be designated to pick up their foods, but they have to sign a proxy. The Care Cabin is located near the township building on Daniels Road and will be open every fourth Saturday of the month from 10:00 to 2:00.

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