Palmerton woman hopes to feed hungry through donation boxes
Maxine Scherer wants to bring food donation boxes to Palmerton. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS
Maxine Scherer wants to bring food donation boxes to her town, and she needs help from the community to do it.
Scherer was working at State Farm in Whitehall when she first saw the impact the small, wooden containers could have.
“Right across the street from where I worked, there was a church, and in the yard of the church were these two boxes,” Scherer remembered.
“Throughout the day, I’d see six, 10 people sometimes going in and out of these boxes. When I looked at the boxes, the food box — a lot of times — was empty.”
Every paycheck, Scherer would head to the Dollar Tree and fill her cart with $20 to $30 worth of food to fill the church’s boxes.
“It warmed my heart and it made me feel good thinking that this was a way for people who didn’t have something to eat to get something to eat,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why not do something like that in our own community?’ ”
Food insecurity, the Palmerton woman said, might be a bigger problem in the borough than some think.
Before Scherer started working in insurance, she was an in-home caregiver.
There was one client in particular she remembered: An elderly woman, who Scherer cooked for and took grocery shopping.
“A lot of times she would only eat half of her lunch, and when I would ask her why she would only eat half of her lunch, she would tell me that if she didn’t save the other half for dinner, she would never make it through the month,” Scherer said.
“How many other people in Palmerton go hungry on a daily basis?”
There’s a reason Scherer is pushing for food donation boxes. They offer anonymity to those who need them.
“When I was a single mom and it was just me and my son, you had what you had,” she said. “You were kind of afraid to go (to the food bank), because you didn’t want people to know that you were hungry, or you know, you might recognize someone else there.”
Scherer brought her idea to the Palmerton Borough Council during a recent meeting. She passed around pictures of the boxes she had seen in Whitehall, telling council that she’d like to set up similar boxes, labeled “food” and “toiletries,” in the area.
Councilman Kris Hoffner responded to Scherer’s proposal by saying that as a municipality, Palmerton is “limited in what we can do.” But he encouraged Scherer to reach out to area nonprofits that would be “more than willing to take this and run with it.”
“The good thing is you’re getting this message out,” Hoffner told Scherer.
Scherer is still looking for other easily accessible venues where the donation boxes could stand. She wants to find people willing to help build and decorate the boxes and to source building materials through donations.
“When those boxes get placed — the day they get placed — I promise you I will fill them,” Scherer said.
If you’re interested in donating toward the boxes, or aiding in their construction, email Scherer at firstname.lastname@example.org.