Pastors of Kiski Valley Community Church and The River church in New Kensington were forced to cancel food distribution via drive-thru because the food delivery truck did not arrive on time.
Pastor Todd Pugh of the Kiski Valley Community Church said distributions would start at 10am on Saturday. He has about 40 volunteers, including about 20 athletes and coaches from the Leechburg Middle School football team, ready to help and about 50 cars lined up waiting for lunch boxes.
Each box contains milk, cheese, yogurt and other perishable items for a family of up to four. They are available for free collection through the US Department of Agriculture’s Family Meal Box program.
“We were told the trucks would be here at 9am,” he said, adding that he confirmed it with trucking logistics company Elite Transit Solutions and the driver on Friday.
It turned out that the truck was still in Philadelphia and was expected to arrive at 2.30pm, Pugh said.
“We have to throw away the food,” said Pugh.
He said it was too much to ask for volunteers to come back on delivery. Pugh said the church also shares the food load of 1,300 boxes with other organizations, such as The River church in New Kensington.
“So it’s also a logistical problem for them,” he said. The River also canceled its food distribution event on Saturday morning.
Elite Transit Solutions were not immediately available for comment.
Pugh said warmer weather also meant the risk of losing food because the church had no way to store it properly.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Pugh. “The most frustrating part is seeing everyone come out and seeing them get rejected.”
The pastor said that he was now considering whether to maintain a schedule for the food distribution. He said the church is set to receive food every week through March.
“But with two turns, people might not come back,” he said.
Greater Works, a church in Monroeville, received its 1,300 boxes of food through the same USDA program on Saturday, said Pastor Gary Mitrik.
He said the church did not receive food last week because of the slippery road conditions. But he said people, including volunteers, kept showing up because of official news that food would not be delivered until morning.
“We have cars lining up for miles. There’s nothing we can do about that. So we encourage everyone to come back this week and I think they did, “said Mitrik. He said every one in 1,300 boxes was distributed on Saturday to about 700 cars.
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