At least 130 Summit Hill families in need will be able to have a bountiful table this Thanksgiving.
That's because the Sons of American Legion Post 316; members of American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill; and the borough's food pantry have teamed up to help local families who have fallen on hard times celebrate Thanksgiving on Nov. 28.
Earlier this week, officers of the SAL presented Rose Marie Armon, director of the Summit Hill Food Pantry, with a check for $2,000 to offset the cost of purchasing 130 frozen turkeys for the upcoming holiday. An additional $50 was also given to Armon from Ruth Ann Hagerty in honor of Perry Shelton, who passed away recently after a battle with lung cancer.
Armon said that Shelton used to help at the pantry when he could.
She added that the money will cover the cost of the frozen birds, as well as offset some of the costs for stuffing and other extras that are usually found on the Thanksgiving menu.
Members of the American Legion also presented Armon with boxes filled with food items that were collected at the post.
Those items will be used to fill the pantry shelves and provide families with more choices when they come collect their food boxes.
Armon noted that the Sons have been donating money for frozen turkeys on Thanksgiving since before she became director in 1997.
Armon couldn't commend the groups enough for their generosity; adding that all Summit Hill organizations, including churches as well as borough residents, have been very supportive of the pantry over the years.
Joe Zubek, SAL finance officer, said the donation is the organization's annual community project.
"We are glad to be able to help offset the cost for the turkeys because we know there are people in our community who would not have a Thanksgiving meal on their table otherwise," Zubek said. "This is our way of helping those in need."
Stan Karnish, commander of SAL, added, "It's nice that we can raise the money to help the pantry and people in these hard economic times."
To raise the money for this donation, the group holds fundraisers throughout the year.
When the Thanksgiving program began nearly two decades ago, 55 families received food packages for Thanksgiving. But rising food costs and tough economic times have pushed the number of families in need up to nearly 150.
Armon said that she has an order in for 130 turkeys but will have to see closer to time if she needs more.
She added that the pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, Nov. 25, instead of the normal monthly pickup, to give out the Thanksgiving boxes.
The Summit Hill Food Pantry is a division of Shepherd House, an entity that contracts with government agencies to receive state and federal funding to help the needy. Shepherd House provides some nonperishable food items, but the majority of food distributed in the borough is donated by Summit Hill residents.
Anyone interested in donating food items or money to the Summit Hill Food Pantry, located in the basement of the Summit Hill Heritage Center, or becoming involved with the group, should contact Armon at (570) 645-3604, or Sandra Hill, (570) 645-4617.