Park Pop-up Pantry Provides

When Pastor Bob Goossen is in the church office during these days of pandemic, his heart gets a little lift when he looks out the window. At the picnic shelter in the front yard of Park Presbyterian Church in Beaver, he sees people taking what they need or leaving what they can.

His experience is not unique. A member of the congregation relates how she met a young lady one morning when she and her husband were stocking the Pop-up Pantry—“She was so appreciative that we are doing this. She said she is the only one working in the household right now. She kept thanking me over and over again.”

The idea for a Pop-up Pantry arose soon after the the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact people’s ability to collect a paycheck. The Park Church congregation quickly went into action using the church’s picnic pavilion with its easy access from Third Street in Beaver. 

It was launched on Easter Sunday intending it to be open all day, every day. The congregation encouraged each other to “shop plus one” at the grocery store. The idea was to not create too big of a burden for any one family. A bar of soap, a box of cereal—every little bit could help. Monetary donations were also requested with volunteer shoppers doing the leg work.

One parishioner said she enjoyed shopping for items. She says, “It was fun to imagine folks being able to serve their families the soup or cereal or the other things I selected. Imagine my delight when two ladies scampered around exclaiming how they liked each item I had brought and then offered to help unload my car! They kept saying “God bless you”, so I know I must have made good choices.”

Immediately the high demand for non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and toilet paper was obvious. After an article highlighting the outreach effort appeared in the Beaver County Times, contributions to help with restocking began to arrive from beyond the congregation. The Beaver Area Education Association sent a check with words of appreciation. Neighboring Vanport Presbyterian Church heard about the project and began offering their support.

With no way of knowing when the repercussions of the pandemic will cease and allow people’s incomes to return to normal, Park Church will continue to do what it can to meet a very real need in central Beaver County. 

To donate to the Park Church Pop-up Pantry, send checks to Park Presbyterian Church, 275 Commerce St., Beaver, PA, 15009 marking in the memo “Food Pantry.”