Food bank drive through

Scott Beveridge

Clients line up for food Thursday as part of a new drive-through operation at Greater Washington County Food Bank in Centerville.

RICHEYVILLE - Greater Washington County Food Bank has closed three Mon Valley pantries, instructing clients in those locations to pick up distributions at a new drive-through operation.

The switch appeared to have worked well, allowing the bank in Centerville to hand out frozen food and fresh vegetables at its headquarters on Route 40 to those from places where the food pantries did not have refrigeration, said Connie Burd, the bank’s executive director.

“We’re taking a slow approach, Burd said. “I didn’t hear any complaints.”

The bank closed pantries in Coal Center, California and Bethlehem-Center under a long-term plan to reduce the number of pantries from 45 to nine, Burd said.

She said the better-quality food, including eggs, yogurt and ice cream, make it worth the effort to find a ride to the bank for people who do not drive.

The bank also is continuing its distributions to senior citizen high-rises.

Bank volunteer Lorraine Johnson said 123 food boxes were distributed Thursday, and that all of her clients showed up from the pantry she operated at Beth-Center.

Burd said some pantries pay rent, money that could otherwise purchase food, and that it’s a challenge to find volunteers when others retire.

“The expenses going out are almost equal to the cost of buying more food,” she said.

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