by Geoff Fox
Rain last Friday didn’t dampen the needs of people lining up in the Hancock Assembly of God
parking lot as Dot Foods donated a tractor-trailer full of food.
The truck arrived around 2 p.m. last Friday, and by 2:30 p.m., people were starting to line up in the church’s northern driveway for the 3:15 p.m. distribution.
It wasn’t until after 5 p.m. when everything was cleaned up.
Members of Interfaith Service Coalition, members of the Hancock Assembly of God church, and volunteers lined up to take multiple boxes of food from the trailer to picnic tables in the church’s pavilion.
Each table held stacks and rows of various foods like yogurt, hummus tortilla chips, and other items.
Reusable shopping bags were filled with enough items for a family to use.
Those who wanted to receive a bag would drive up to the pavilion and a volunteer placed items in the car or trunk so there would be no direct contact between people.
ISC Director Deb Cohill said they usually get around 150 people for the food distributions, which have happened regularly even before current pandemic closures and economic hardships.
Cohill said on Monday they distributed bags of food to over 200 vehicles. Every vehicle got at least one bag of food, she added.
In the past, distribution had taken place at the Park-N-Dine parking lot; however, it was moved to the Hancock Assembly of God on Pennsylvania Avenue, as the lot is larger and wouldn’t cause a back up on Main Street.
As the cars were lining up for the distribution, the line stretched onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dot Foods in Williamsport donated the food.
Jerry Souders, a Maintenance Manager at Dot Foods, said the company’s sales are down and instead of the food going bad and being thrown in the dumpster, they decided to donate it to organizations like ISC that could use it to help feed families and help communities.
“As stuff becomes available, I make phone calls, and people graciously, like this organization say, ‘Yes we can take it, we can disperse it, we can get rid of it’,” Souders said. “Dot Foods is a small part of that chain.”
Souders had just dropped a load in Berkeley Springs at Starting Points, but there had been other drops in Chambersburg and Needmore.
Usually there are 48 pallets on a truck, but it varies. The drop in Berkeley Springs had 22 pallets while the Hancock truck was three-quarters full.
Orders have been split, depending on how it can be handled. Souders said there have been times when half a load went to Needmore and the other half to Hancock.
Souders said it feels good to work for a company that was willing to take a loss to donate food to help the community.
“When you see that, it makes it gratifying,” he said.
Dot Foods has 12 distribution centers around the United States and two in Canada while looking to expand, Souders said.
“They’ve done well but the way they’ve done that is by taking care of their communities,” Souders said. “It’s a big part of our culture to look out for the families and folks that work for us as well as our communities.”