When the volunteers at the Germantown Seventh Day Adventist church food pantry at 200 E. Cliveden Street arrived on Tuesday morning they were greeted by a line of 60 people waiting for the turkey give away. Pantry volunteer John Hall said that there were already about 60 people in line at 9am for the give away which started at noon.
Flora Carmichael, leader of community services for the church, is responsible for the biweekly food pantry and the turkey give away. Carmichael, who has been profiled in NewsWorks´ Local Hero Series, had to scramble to get enough turkeys to serve all of the families that come to the pantry.
When NewsWorks spoke with Carmichael on the day before the turkey give away she was running around like a chicken with her head cut off (no pun intended) visiting area grocery stores and asking for donated and discounted turkeys.
“I have to get all the things that I don’t have,” said Carmichael. “It’s hard to get enough turkeys at just one place.”
She received 24 turkeys from Philabundance, the region’s largest food bank and hunger relief organization, as well as 50 from Pathmark stores on Monday, but was worried that there would not be enough.
Carmichael estimated that she would need at least 90 turkeys to accommodate the pantry’s customers, who are all low-income individuals. She was right. During the event, Pastor Pete Palmer had to run out to buy 12 more turkeys.
In addition to the pantry and turkey give-a-way, Carmichael is also responsible for cooking Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast – turkey, collard greens, candied yams, and cranberry sauce. Dinner will take place noon.
“If they didn’t come here to get food, they probably wouldn’t have any way to eat,” said Carmichael.
For the New Year, volunteer John Hall said they are hoping for donations of canned goods like fruits, vegetables and diced tomatoes because the supplies are running low.
He said they are always looking for pantry volunteers to help sort and bag food for the customers. To volunteer or donate food contact Flora Carmichael at (215) 327-6358.