Pennsylvania family kitchen feeding hungry and creating friendships

Hunger Action Month

CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — With food insecurity rates reaching a new high, Nexstar is partnering with Feeding America, as we all step up to meet the increasing need.

Among the local groups that work with Feeding America is the Saint Vincent De Paul’s soup kitchen in Johnstown. Donations and volunteers keep the soup kitchen running, feeding as many as 200 people daily.

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“They come in and they’re hungry and you’re just glad to give them something to eat and be able to get them through the day, there are a lot of people who count on us to get a meal every day and it might be the only meal that they have,” Johnstown Family Kitchen Manager Greg Karcher said.

“It means a hot meal, it means I can go through and get what I need, and take home for my son also,” Johnstown Family Kitchen Visitor Mae Roles said.

But along with providing meals to those who need it, there is a whole social aspect.

“Eating in and people having other people to communicate with and talk with is a big important part of the family kitchen, not only do we try and feed them with food, nourish them physically, mentally, spiritually, and the whole bit, so it’s important for them to come in and talk to each other,” Karcher said.

During the pandemic, the Johnstown Family Kitchen was serving food-to-go for about a year and a half, but come July they were able to get everyone back in to eat, which visitors said means a lot to them.

“It means getting together with people that have become my friends and seeing how they are and just communicating, and just enjoying what the pantry has to offer us, a lot of times I get too much and have bags here and I put in bags and that’s my supper then because as you get older you don’t want cook at all but I really appreciate what they do here,” Johnstown Family Kitchen Visitor Joanne Jurestodsky said.

And the soup kitchen is always looking for more help.

“If you can help here like serving or anything it would be greatly appreciated I know,” Jurestodsky said.

The Johnstown Family Kitchen serves meals Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

For more information, you can visit their website or call them at (814) 539-7811.

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