Many pantries, due to space constraints, happen to be housed in basements or windowless auditoriums, but Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has the good fortune of operating out of a bright and airy space that sits just beyond the last pews of the church. On the last Tuesday of every month, 30 to 40 people pass through the area between 10 am and noon, to receive two grocery bags – one large, one small – that have been packed the day before by Co-Pantry Managers, Barbara Griffa and Liga Stam. Having run the pantry together for at least 10 years, Ms. Griffa and Ms. Stam know most of their clients, if not by name, then by food preference.
Since most of their clients are senior citizens, Ms. Griffa and Ms. Stam extend certain courtesies. Clients can have a seat while they wait their turn. In very cold weather, they may receive hot cider; in the summer, a glass of water. Ms. Griffa and Ms. Stam are careful not to pack the bags too heavily. To accommodate the people who seek food when the pantry is not open, they keep a large bag of food at the ready in the church office.
Food donations and gift cards from MEND help keep the pantry going, as does support from two sister Lutheran churches that conduct occasional food drives on Holy Trinity’s behalf. The pantry also accepts gifts, such as from visiting pastors. “Sometimes we wonder if we will have enough,” Ms. Stam noted. Ms. Griffa finished her thought: “And we always do.”
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Food Pantry
153 Glenwood Ave.
East Orange, NJ 07107
10 am – noon, last Tuesday