The Black Diamond Parrot Head Club of Summit Hill wants to raise awareness that local food pantries are in need of donations.

On Wednesday evening, the group gathered to provide donations and sponsorships to five area food pantries. The Parrot Head Club gave $500 each to the Summit Hill Food Pantry, Lansford Food Pantry, Nesquehoning Food Pantry, Shepherd House in Jim Thorpe and the Salvation Army in Tamaqua.

During the presentation, Tom Tirpak, president of the club, said the group always gives to the pantries because it helps a lot of people enjoy good meals on the holidays.

"It's a great thing that you do for the community," Tirpak said to the pantry representatives in attendance.

Stan Karnish, treasurer of the Parrot Head Club, added that he is happy the club can help make the holidays a little brighter for families in need.

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.

Betty Pearson of the Lansford Food Pantry said she is thankful for groups like the Parrot Head Club because without help from the community, the pantry would not be able to provide meals for families in needs of help.

"I'm thrilled with the donation," she said. "It will help pay for part of the turkeys."

Lansford Food Pantry is expecting to serve about 110 families this Thanksgiving.

Major Sharon Whispell, pastor of the Salvation Army and Rose Marie Armon of the Summit Hill Food Pantry echoed Pearson's thoughts. Representatives from Jim Thorpe and Nesquehoning food pantries were not able to make it during the presentation.

"I think it's great," Whispell said. "It's going to be a blessing because so far we have over 200 families who will be getting food for Thanksgiving."

She noted that anyone in need of help in the form of food and has not yet called the Salvation Army during the registration period, can check with the group on the distribution day on Nov. 21 to see what extras are available.

"This will help us get a little extra so those who didn't sign up could get something as well," Whispell added.

Armon said that the donation is greatly appreciated and was thankful for the group's support over the years.

The Summit Hill Food Pantry, which also received a $2,000 donation from the Sons of American Legion Post 316 earlier this month for the purchase of all turkeys, will serve around 130 families this Thanksgiving.

The Summit Hill, Nesquehoning, Lansford and Jim Thorpe food pantries are all divisions 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 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://www.bensalemucc.com/Food-Bank.html [1] and scroll down to Shepherd House, Inc. for Carbon County food pantry information; or http://www.schuylkillcommunityaction.com/services/pantries.html [2] for a listing of Schuylkill County food pantries.