Penns Park UMC

Penns Park United Methodist Church is the home of the Wrighstown Food Cupboard.

NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Usually at this time of year, you’d find members of the Newtown Rotary Club stationed outside the doors at McCaffrey’s Market collecting donations for the Wrightstown Food Cupboard.

But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club had to find another way to carry out its annual drive.

Canceling the event wasn’t an option, especially with climbing unemployment and the increased need for food from local residents out of work.

So the Rotarians shifted their approach, partnering with the Temperance House on South State Street to locate a food donation bin at restaurant. They also launched an e-food collection campaign, in which residents can purchase food through Amazon and have it delivered directly to the food cupboard.

“Thank you to Kathy and the Temperance House Restaurant for helping the Newtown Rotary Club collect food for the Wrightstown Food Cupboard,” said Club President Paul Salvatore. “You can now stop by for a meal to go and drop off some items for the food drive.”

Since its launch several weeks ago, the response has been overwhelming, said

Salvatore, who has been making numerous trips between the Temp and Wrightstown delivering donations.

And seeing those deliveries come in brightens the day for food cupboard manager Mitch McIntire.

“It’s gratifying the continuing generosity of the people in the area,” said McIntire. “And the Rotary is a big supporter of the Cupboard and we very much appreciate that,” he said. “We can’t say enough about the people making the donations. Their generosity is fantastic.”

The cupboard is based out of the Penns Park United Methodist Church on 2nd Street Pike and is a joint community outreach mission of Penns Park UMC, Wrightstown Friends Meeting, Anchor Presbyterian and St. Marks Orthodox Church.

The cupboard services the Council Rock School District, including Upper Makefield, Wrightstown, Newtown Township, Newtown Borough and Northampton Township. But if someone needs food from outside the area, they won’t be refused.

McIntire noted that while the district is well-to-do, there are more than 500 children in the district on the free lunch program, which speaks to the need within the community. “The need is there, which is why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

The cupboard, which has been in operation for between 25 and 30 years, has taken off in the past few years with more and more people making donations and more and more people taking advantage of its services.

“Our philosophy is simple. If you need food, come and get it,” said McIntire. “It’s tough enough for people to ask for help. You don’t need to make them jump through hoops. I’ll admit there may be a few taking advantage, but I’m not fight about giving someone food. That’s what it’s about. The Lord said, ‘Feed my flock.’ If we can’t do that, we better quit.”

According to McIntire, the cupboard is always in need of donations.

“We always need everything all the time,” he said. “We could really use some coffee, tea and juices. And the juices in particular. We’re always short of canned fruit,” he said. “And sometimes we run low on cake mixes and dessert type of stuff. And we’re always in need of canned vegetables, soup and canned tuna. We typically are good with pastas, but we need sauces. Mac and cheese is another good item followed by Spaghetti O’s and Chef Boyardee Ravioli.”

Other needs include boxed cereals, dried fruits, nuts, canned and dry soup, canned meats, jelly and peanut butter, pancake mix and syrup, paper goods, toiletries (men and women), diapers and wipes and cleaning supplies.

Food donations may be dropped off at the Temperance House or residents can order food through Amazon and have it delivered to the Wrightstown Food Cupboard, c/o Mitch McIntire, 98 Midland Road, Newtown 18940. For more about the cupboard or to schedule a pickup or delivery, call 215-598-3661.

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