BLOSSBURG - The United Methodist Churches of Blossburg and Covington both are part of the same parish, under the pastorship of Rev. A. Michelle Somerville, and the congregations are working together to help the needy of the Blossburg area.
A food pantry already is in operation at the Blossburg church basement once a month, and now the Covington parish members are adding to it with items that cannot be purchased with food stamps.
Called "Emmaline's Closet" after deceased church member Emmaline Baity, the non-food pantry provides things such as paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent and other items that can't be purchased with food stamps, but are necessities in running a household, said organizer Louise Smyth.
Smyth said the items are collected throughout the month from 30 or so members of the congregation and other local churches, and then given away to Blossburg area people the third Monday of each month, from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the same hours as the food pantry in the same location is open.
Smyth said she operates the pantry along with church members Ellen LeBlanc and Maryann Thomas.
The Matthew 25 food pantry is operated by Blossburg UMC member Rose Wesneski, along with Sylvia Watkins of the Covington UMC and St. Mary's Catholic Church member Donna Brennan.
The two pantries serve about three dozen families.
They also get food donations from congregation members, as well as from other area churches, and if not food, they get cash donations, which they spend at the central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Williamsport, she said.
The food pantry is limited to those from the Blossburg area, Wesneski said.
"We keep this one to the Blossburg, Morris Run, Covington and Arnot people," she said, "because we don't get any federal funding," and added that Liberty, Mansfield and Wellsboro also serve their respective communities with their own food pantries.
Each person that comes to the pantry is asked where they are from but not their income level.
"We just assume that if they come here, they need what we have to offer," Wesneski said.
There is a limit of two bags of groceries and one loaf of bread and box of cereal.
At the other side of the room at Emmaline's Closet, they are limited to three of any item but only one bottle of laundry detergent.
"The laundry detergent goes really fast," Smyth said.
Anyone wanting to donate to Emmaline's Closet or the Matthew 25 Food Pantry can drop off donations on the back porch of the Covington United Methodist Church at the top of the ramp, Smyth said.