- Each Leadership Wayne class is expected to complete a group project as part of their ten-month program to engage young leaders in the local community.

The Leadership Wayne Class of 2014 spent the month of May promoting the Wayne County Food Pantry with The Pantry Project.

The idea was to raise awareness that there are many families in Wayne County in need of assistance and to boost collections at off-peak times of the year when pantries often run short.

The group met with Wayne County Food Pantry Director Kathleen Terry to find out how they could help.

“When I was approached by the participants of Leadership Wayne about planning their group project to benefit the food pantry, I was excited and touched,” said Terry.

The group toured the facility as part of the Leadership Wayne program and decided that instead of creating a project from scratch, they would help support the wonderful work already taking place in the community.

The class members were overwhelmed by the number of families in need of basic items most people take for granted.

Terry stated, “I was excited about their goal to collect items for the pantry. The donation of household items in addition to non-perishable food was a wonderful idea.

“Paper products and household toiletries really supplement the participants’ take-home grocery bags.”

The group created flyers, brainstormed collection locations, asked businesses for support, advertised the project, and dispersed barrels throughout the community to collect food and personal products.

They put barrels in locations around the county including: The Dime Bank, The Hawley Silk Mill, Honesdale National Bank, Watson Brothers, Wayne Bank, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Wayne County Courthouse Buildings, and Wayne County Libraries (all sites). With barrels from Northern Wayne to the tip of Southern Wayne, it became an all out challenge to see who could collect the most for the Wayne County Food Pantry.

Many businesses held contests to see who could collect the most items. Thanks to the positive response, the class members were faced with a new challenge- how to collect all of the donated items.

After two days and many pick-up trucks, vans, and trailers they were able to get all of the donations back to the pantry.

The group ultimately collected well over 2500 pounds of food and personal products for the pantry to disperse. They were thrilled with the results.

“I realize that the recipients of your campaign may never verbally or publically thank you for your efforts, but I can thank you on their behalf,” said Terry. “Your large collection of items will give a tremendous boost to the many struggling, lower-income families in our county.”

The Leadership Wayne Class of 2014 (sponsored by the Chamber of the Northern Poconos) gives its heartfelt thanks to the businesses and individuals who made this project such a huge success.

They also challenge the community to continue to pay it forward by keeping in mind that there are many pantries in need in Wayne County.

A major goal of the project was to raise awareness for the efforts of every pantry, from the Emergency Food Pantry, to privately supported pantries and those run by religious groups.

It doesn’t matter which pantry you give to as long as you remember to give consistently and at off-peak times.

There is a great need for food and personal care items throughout the year, not just at the holiday season.

Keep The Pantry Project going and support the pantry closest to your heart or home.

May your pantry always be full.