The Black Diamond Parrot Head Club of Summit Hill and the Sons of American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill, want to raise awareness that local food pantries are in need of donations.
On Wednesday evening, the groups gathered to give donations of nonperishable food items and money to four area food pantries. The SALs gave its annual donation to the Summit Hill Food Pantry for the purchase of 130 frozen turkeys; while the Parrot Head Club gave $250 each to the Summit Hill Food Pantry, Lansford Food Pantry, Nesquehoning Food Pantry, and Jim Thorpe Food Pantry.
During the presentations, Tom Tirpak, president of the club, said the group always gives to the food pantries, but decided to team up with the SALs this year to make a challenge for other organizations, clubs, and businesses, to see if they could match or beat the groups' donations.
"The need (for food pantry donations) is going to be higher this year because of the economy," Tirpak said.
Stan Karnish, treasurer of the Parrot Head Club and commander of the SALs, officially issued the challenge.
"We challenge other community organizations throughout the area to help their food pantries. They need your help," he said.
Recipients of this year's donations were grateful for the help because times are tough, and more families are hitting rough spots in their everyday lives.
Paula Anthony of the Nesquehoning Food Pantry said, "Thank you and God bless everyone for their kindness."
Pam Moore of the Jim Thorpe Food Pantry, Betty Pearson of the Lansford Food Pantry, and Rose Marie Armon of the Summit Hill Food Pantry echoed Anthony's thoughts.
Moore said, "We're very appreciative for any donations because they are surely needed."
The four food pantries are all divisions of Shepherd House, an entity that contracts with government agencies to receive state and fefederal funding to help the needy. Shepherd House provides some nonperishable food items for distribution, but the majority of food distributed in the area is donated by local residents, clubs, organizations and businesses. Without local donations, the food pantries would not be able to meet the needs of all families who need their help.
Anyone interested in donating food items or money to any of the Carbon or Schuykill county food pantries can contact them directly.
For a complete list of pantry locations and contact information, visit http://bensalemucc.com/AssistanceHelpPage.html  and scroll down to Shepherd House, Inc. for Carbon County food pantry information; or http://www.schuylkillcommunityaction.com/services/pantries.html  for a listing of Schuylkill County food pantries.