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Food pantry expands mission under new name

Holy Communion, Norwood parishioner Caroline Fischer packs a bag for a food pantry client.
Nina Nicholson, Director of Communications
Holy Communion, Norwood parishioner Caroline Fischer packs a bag for a food pantry client. NINA NICHOLSON PHOTO

Last September, we shared the story of the food pantry at Holy Communion, Norwood. Eight months later, that food pantry is launching an expanded mission under a new name.

Aware that their space for storing and distributing food is limited, “We wanted to give families more than just food,” says Joanne Scalpello, Holy Communion’s senior warden and co-director of the food pantry.

“The families are hungry for food and information – and we want to help them get out of the cycle of needing a food pantry.”

They reached out to the Bergen County Office of Food Security for speaker recommendations, then tested the waters with a “Smoothies and Exercise” presentation last fall, before they became busy with their annual Thanksgiving and Christmas food pantry events. This past February – “Heart Month” – they hosted a nurse who did blood pressure screenings. Both “popup” events were well received by food pantry clients.

After the success of this soft launch, they decided they’d found their way forward. On Saturday, April 20, they will celebrate their food pantry’s new identity as The WholeSum Pantry, a name chosen to reflect that they are striving to serve the whole person, not just food needs.

They’ve already held their first “official” popup event in March, with a speaker from the Bergen County Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services. The Northern Valley Education Association provided lunch and students babysat the children while the parents attended the presentation, which included lunch.

Going forward, they plan to augment their two monthly “food pantry” days with a third date for a “popup” presentation, as speakers are available. They’re currently in talks with a local dentist about a presentation on dental care.

“I am finding the more ‘out there’ the pantry is becoming,” says Scalpello, “the more people want to help us.”