October 28, 2020

Pantry board gives helping hand after receiving one



Garrison food pantry board members have a variety of reasons for stepping up to help. For some, it’s the simple act of volunteerism. For others, it’s a connection to their own past.
At a recent Chamber meeting, Janis Sloka, a board member of the local food pantry, told the story of a man who came for a box of food earlier this year.
Sloka said, “He apologized for the nice car and the fact that he had a job,” he said. “But he was having major cancer treatment and really struggling. He said he had to make choices between cancer bills and food.”
Sloka, on the board of the Garrison Food Pantry and Resource Center, knows about tough choices, a history that led him to volunteer for the pantry.
While he attended seminary school in Philadelphia, the school learned that there were students who didn’t have enough food and started a food pantry. Many students held unpaid internships in churches and they were unable to hold a job and go to school. 
“We had to depend on family and friends to make ends meet,” he said. “We didn’t always have opportunities to make money.”
He said he took advantage of the campus food pantry, which supplied boxes of everything from instant mashed potatoes to PB&J. 
“I remember eating a lot of mashed potatoes,” he said.
Other times, Sloka said he would check his wallet to see if he had enough money for a loaf of bread to make a “sweet bologna sandwich:” processed cheese, bologna on bread. He said he was also grateful for the leftover meals that the church would provide.

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