Hungry families coming to and from Newville Community Park can now help themselves to a quick bite to eat courtesy of Zion Lutheran Church.

Thursday, the church blessed a brand new food pantry located next to the church at the corner of High and West streets in the borough.

Zion Lutheran Church created the food pantry to supplement the PAW Packs Program, which helps feed students in the Big Spring School District over the weekend, and the Big Spring Area Food Bank. Inscribed on the side of the pantry is the message, “Take what you need, give what you can. Above all, be blessed”

“We felt it was important to do this even before COVID,” said Zion Lutheran Church Evangelism Committee member Coletta Railing. “We felt that this would be a nice ancillary supplement to help folks out. Because this is also evangelism, we also wanted to get out that you are not alone. We’re with you. We’ve been putting bibles and scripture readings in the pantry and they are always gone, in addition to the food. People are spiritually hungry as well as physically hungry.”

A running route detour was the inspiration for the project.

Railing regularly goes for runs when she visits the Chambersburg YMCA. She usually runs out toward the farms, but one day she decided to run by her alma mater, Wilson College. 

“I came down and one of the churches on Philadelphia Avenue in Chambersburg had a box similar to this,” Railing recalled. “I ran by it and it just touched my heart. I thought, ‘there is a reason God wanted me to run this way today.’”

She then pitched the idea to the church’s Evangelism Committee and everyone was on board. After getting approval from the borough, church members Calvin Mowery and Carl Creek volunteered their carpentry skills and calligraphy skills, respectively, to bring Railing’s idea to fruition.

“We had a lot of God’s hands working on it,” Railing stated.

Railing and fellow Zion Lutheran committee member Joey Diehl stressed that the box is a community pantry. Anyone can add to or take from its contents. Although they did ask that people refrain from putting any canned goods or peanut butter inside the pantry due to the heat.

“It’s just a blessing that the whole community has helped with this little box,” said Diehl. “We are figuring it’s kids or families that are going to the park to play and they didn't bring any snacks. They have our box.”

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