Salvation Army of West Chester Unveils New Choice Pantry

IMG_8783The Salvation Army of West Chester unveiled its new Manna From Heaven food pantry at a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 19.

The event celebrated its status as a pilot pantry under the Chester County Food Bank’s Best Choice Initiative. The Salvation Army of West Chester has provided food assistance to those in need for more than 30 years and currently serves as many as 60 individuals and families each month. Rather than distribute food that’s already been bagged with various non-perishable items, the Manna From Heaven Pantry is now set up in a choice-format. It is comparable to a mini-market where clients use a shopping cart and select food, paper products and personal care items from the stocked shelves. Under the pilot program, the Chester County Food Bank is supplying healthier food options like fresh produce, low-sodium and whole grain selections.

IMG_8677“Nutrition experts say when incomes drop and family budgets shrink, food choices shift toward cheaper but more energy-dense foods. The first items dropped are usually healthier foods, such as high-quality proteins, whole grains, vegetables and fruit,” said Lt. Maria Corraliza, Co-Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army of West Chester. “Our new choice pantry provides families in crisis with healthy foods and meal options, and builds trust and self-esteem.”

IMG_8770A dedication ceremony featured speakers including: Jordon Norley, West Chester interim Mayor, and representatives from The Chester County Food Bank, The Salvation Army, and other local agencies.The Salvation Army also hosted an open-house on the 19th,  where members of the community toured the facility and enjoyed snacks made with ingredients from the food pantry.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, out of the 19,842 residents in West Chester, approximately 5,120 are living in poverty and 32.6 percent of the population older than 16 are not participating in the civilian workforce. The Salvation Army is committed to providing hope and transforming lives of the underserved in West Chester.

Each year, The Salvation Army serves more than 1,500 individuals and families in West Chester with programs and services such as: housing and shelter, food assistance (community meals and food pantry), utility assistance, afterschool program, rent assistance, holiday assistance, and worship services.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives. Since 1879, The Army has held a record of accomplishment stemming from its holistic approach to providing for the needs of the whole individual – physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. The Army’s programming serves every zip code through 51 community centers and a network of volunteers throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Delaware. Programs and services include: shelter, hot meals, counseling, early childhood development, recreational opportunities, music programs, after-school arts and educational programs, job training, activities for older adults, spiritual development, and drug rehabilitation.

Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

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