WAYNE COUNTY—Between each of its five locations in Honesdale, Lakeville, Newfoundland, Lakewood and Damascus, the Wayne County Pantry Program helps feed an average of 500 households each month, noted pantry coordinator Kathleen Chicoski.

The pantries are stocked primarily with items from the United States Department of Agriculture, specifically through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

This federal program works to provide low-income households with supplemental nutritional foods including “canned and fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and dried eggs, meat, poultry, fish, milk and cheese, pasta products, and cereal” as stated by TEFAP informational materials.

Available foods are determined by the individual market conditions of each state.

Despite the month-long federal government shutdown at the beginning of the year, pantry operations were unaffected, said Chicoski.

Wayne County's Pantry Program is also supplemented by private donors giving both food items and funding, Chicoski explained.

“Donations are always a big thing,” said the coordinator. “It helps supplement what we can give.”

She explained various holiday donation drives beginning around Thanksgiving each year help supplement distributions through January.

But the donation impetus tends to peter out by this time of year.

“We want to be able to give as much as possible,” said Chicoski, noting that a fair portion of the pantries' patrons are elderly.

A typical food bag contains staple meal items including meats, vegetables, pasta and dairy items.

The Pantry Program accepts any non-perishable food item which is not expired.

Canned goods are often plentiful and “anything people want to give is helpful,” said Chicoski.

Those wishing to donate can bring items to their local pantry on distribution day or drop them off at the Wayne Country Aging Office (323 Tenth Street, Honesdale).

Monetary donations can also be mailed to the Tenth Street Office. Checks should be made out to the Wayne County Food Pantry.

Those wishing to register for pantry services can do so on-site on delivery days.

Hopeful registrants should bring proof of physical address and know the names, birthdates, income and last four digits of the Social Security Numbers of all members of the household.

Wayne County's pantry locations are as follows:

• Damascus pantry–operates on the third Thursday of each month from 1-3 p.m. out of the Damascus Township building 60 Conklin Road, Damascus;

• Honesdale Pantry—operates on the second Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. out of Tri County Beverage 214 Willow Avenue, Honesdale.

Due to yesterday's inclement weather, this month's Honesdale Pantry will distribute tomorrow, Thursday, February 14 at the above mentioned time and place;

• Lakeville Pantry—operates on the fourth Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. out of the Paupack Township Building, 25 Daniels Road, Lakeville;

• Lakewood Pantry—operates on the third Wednesday of each month from 12:30-2:30 p.m. out of the Northern Wayne Health Center, 412 Como Road, Lake Como;

• Newfoundland Pantry—operates on the second Friday of each month from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. out of the Newfoundland Moravian Church, 982 Main Street, Newfoundland.

More information about the Wayne County Pantry Program is available by phone at 570-253-4262, or online at www.waynecountypa.gov.