HARLINGEN — Every month, the students from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and Day School help a different local organization. This month, the students chose the Harlingen Neighborhood Pantry.
On Monday afternoon, students helped pack up the items they collected to donate to the pantry. In four weeks, 152 bottles of cooking oil, 198 jars of jelly, 566 cans of tuna and 14 jars of peanut butter were collected. These were the items the pantry specified were needed.
Rev. Kendrah McDonald, assistant rector, said the sixth grade class does a service project every month. This was the project for March, although donations were also taken from the church.
“This is for community service. They collect something every month. They enjoy giving up the blessings they have,” McDonald said.
Because of the pandemic, McDonald said it has been a struggle to find organizations accepting donations.
“In November, we collected Thanksgiving baskets and H-E-B certificates for turkeys. In December, they collected as well, depending on grade level. This is something the church has been doing for years,” she said.
Jim Coffman, director of the Harlingen Neighborhood Food Pantry, said the school reached out to ask what was needed. Coffman said all the donated items will be given out Wednesday.
This is not the first time the pantry partners with the school, Coffman said, and they are grateful for the support.
Coffman said the students usually volunteer at the pantry in person, but they cannot do so due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The pantry has not been closed, but we had 16 to 20 volunteers every Wednesday. But thank God none of us have gotten the virus,” Coffman said.
Though the donations from St. Alban’s were helpful, the pantry continues to look for donations at all times since every week food is given out to people in need.
“It is wonderful to have them to help us out. It is cheaper for them to send donations, but it gives the children a chance to work as a team and do the collecting,” Coffman said.
“All God cares is the food is given out, and the hungry are taken care of,” he said.