Turkey with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Served with additional sides of corn, peas, carrots, and a green bean casserole. And for dessert, pumpkin, apple and pecan pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
Those are some of the ingredients for a Thanksgiving Day enjoyed with family, friends and – often – too much food.
But for some local families, there won’t be enough food to go around.
Families from Central Bucks, New Hope-Solebury and Dublin are depending on the kindness of strangers. Those strangers have been dropping off bags and boxes of canned and boxed goods, frozen turkeys and gift certificates for free turkeys at area food pantries like the New Britain Baptist Food Larder and the Bucks County Housing Group’s Doylestown Food Pantry.
However, even more is needed – both during the holidays and all year round.
“People today, they’re in desperate need, and it’s not going to get any better,” said Byron Rimmer, who with his wife, Dottie, and Shirley Eyrich, helps run the larder in New Britain Borough.
The larder serves clients of the Bucks County Opportunity Council as well as others in need residing within the Central Bucks and New Hope-Solebury school districts.
“We’re serving 900 to 925 people a month, and it’s going up,” said Dottie Rimmer, the larder coordinator. “Each year we see it increasing.”
Mrs. Rimmer said when she began her volunteer work at the larder 12 years ago, it served 250 people a month. Last November, she said, more than 1,110 received food from the larder inside the Baptist church on Route 202.
The number of people aided by the Doylestown Food Pantry on Old Dublin Pike in Doylestown Township also has risen – to as many as 1,200-plus individuals in one month. “The need has grown tremendously,” said Kate Bianchini, the pantry’s volunteer coordinator.
“There is hunger in our community, in Central Bucks,” she said. “It’s not just during the holidays…We have people come all year round to the pantry.”
The pantry serves families and individuals from Central Bucks, New Hope and Dublin, Bianchini said.
Clients are allowed to shop for their food, monthly at the larder and weekly at the pantry, both of which are set up like stores with their shelves stocked. However, they aren’t permitted to take as much as they might need to feed their families.
“It’s not supposed to be feeding the family for the week,” Bianchini said. “We wish we could do that, but we can’t.”
Food from the larder is supposed to be supplemental, enough to last for three days, Dottie Rimmer said. However, if they shop wisely, she said, it can last a bit longer.
The larder and the pantry both will be open this week to receive donations and provide food to families in need. Both will accept turkeys and signed certificates for free turkeys, as well as other food and personal hygiene items in sizes other than bulk, and monetary donations.
“We need just about everything,” Mrs. Rimmer said. “About the only things we don’t need are canned string beans, corn and peas.”
The larder especially needs canned meats, other than tuna; coffee; jellies; pasta; macaroni and cheese; gravy; boxed potatoes; soups; beans; condiments, canned tomatoes and canned fruit. The larder does not want donations of fresh meat. Instead it uses monetary donations to buy meat that is specially packaged in portions for its clients.
Also in short supply are personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, shampoo, soap and deodorant. “People, when they’re buying for us, they don’t think about the personal items,” Dottie Rimmer said. “Everybody thinks about food.”
The pantry in Doylestown is in need of holiday items for the first time in more than nine years in operation, Bianchini said. “We’re not seeing as much cranberry sauce, pumpkin and stuffing as in the past,” she said.
The pantry is open for donations on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Clients can shop Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The larder will be accepting donations Thanksgiving week on Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Coupons for free turkeys for larder clients may also be dropped off at the New Britain Borough offices this week between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Clients may shop after 8 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday. Normal shopping hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
More information about the New Britain Baptist Food Larder can be found at:
More information about the Bucks County Housing Group’s community food pantries in Doylestown, Penndel and Milford Square can be found at: