Already stretched food pantries tested

BY DAVID SINGLETON, Times-Shamrock Writer

Area food banks and pantries that often struggle in the best of times to keep shelves stocked are feeling an added pinch as Northeast Pennsylvania recovers from the devastating flooding brought about by Tropical Storm Lee.

Dennis Phelps, executive director of the Montrose-based community action agency Trehab, said Friday there is no question the flooding that displaced thousands of people across the region has made a difficult situation even more tenuous at three food banks his organization operates.

“Our food bank is somewhat under the gun anyway because of the reduction in available resources from the state, so it has been a pressure point,” Phelps said. “I would say it’s fair to say it’s a crisis.”

Four of the six counties where Trehab provides services – Susquehanna,Wyoming,Bradfordand Sullivan – are within the federally declared disaster area. The agency runs food banks at Montrose and Susquehanna Depot inSusquehannaCountyand at Dushore inSullivanCounty.

Phelps said Trehab typically relies heavily on assistance from churches to keep its pantries stocked.

“We have basically stepped back from that because the churches are so involved with assisting so many of the people who have lost their homes,” he said. “It’s a tough time now – a tough time.”