Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

Spring 2022

Greetings Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends!  Hoping you are healthy and enjoying spring. We welcome you to this spring update of the Ecumenical Food Pantry.

Our Mission Statement 

“The Ecumenical Food Pantry supports those in the greater Harrisburg area who are experiencing food insecurity, primarily through the provision of emergency food assistance.”

Client Trends

The EFP continues to see a steady need from clients looking to the EFP for assistance.  In March 2022, over 1100 people received support from the EFP.  That represents a 68% increase over March of 2021. In the most recent week in April, 400 people sought out the pantry.  Children 17 and under continue to be the largest group of those we serve. Changes to the federal nutrition waiver, which expires June 1 could increase the need for assistance to families with children.  We continue to monitor this issue and others impacting the community need for food.  Clients and local case managers continue to share positive feedback on the EFP, specifically on the produce, dairy, and meat choices we offer.  In addition, comments on the kindness of our volunteers in serving and assisting clients is very satisfying. 


The EFP’s Executive Director, Deidre Lenker, continues to expand our array of partners.  Recently reaching out to the American Heart Association, Christian Churches United, Family Promise, and Case Management Unit of Dauphin County. The EFP has also developed a partnership with Church World Services (CWS) who recently opened up an office in Harrisburg.  This refugee resettlement organization will begin to have refugee households seek the EFP for food assistance. Bethesda Food Mission, Mission Central, Aetna, and Centric Bank are also new partnerships established to assist our mission.

We have also reached out to Central Penn College to offer support to those students who have need for healthy food.       


The EFP continues to be active in enhancing operations.  Examples include;

-Non English Language Resources

-Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

-Accommodating clients without cars with strong and sizeable reusable cloth bags

-Homeless Client food options 

-Completing a remodeling project on the EFP delivery chute to allow for easier and safer food delivery.

-Increased produce offerings

-Increased personal item offerings to include soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, and deodorant.

-Utilization of carts to alleviate bag lifting

Produce and Protein

The EFP is committed to have a steady supply of produce and protein choices.  Our clients have emphasized this need.  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP) benefits are stretched extremely thin.  We continue to seek out partners such as Paulus Orchards, Spiral Path Farms, and Shaffers Meats who enhance our offerings.  Spring and summer will bring more local options.  We thank our partners for all they do to support the EFP!


The Second Annual EFP Harvest  Open Golf Tournament  is scheduled for May 16 at Dauphin Highlands Golf Course.  The event is very close to selling out for the second straight year! Numerous sponsors and donors have shared generous support for the EFP through this event.  This is the EFP’s single largest fundraising event of the year. We are looking forward to a great day!

On April 23rd the semi-annual Friends of Midtown/EFP food and personals drive will occur.  This event will be held from 9-1 in the parking lot of Messiah Lutheran Church.  Please stop by with a contribution. 

The EFP will also be volunteering at the Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard Blueberry Festival on July 16. Paulus Orchards has designated the EFP has a prime beneficiary of this fantastic event, which includes a delicious breakfast and artisan vendors.  Hopefully everyone can support this event!

Mark your calendars for September 17, 2022 for a 50th Anniversary Celebration for the EFP! Our planning committee is working on an event to honor our dedicated volunteers and provide food and fun for the community!  Donors and sponsors are needed.  Do you have photos, stories, or favorite memories of the food pantry that you can share?  Please send them to Deidre Lenker at

Midtown Cinema is currently hosting a drop off box for personal items.  It is located in the lobby.  Movie goers will be able to drop off donations.

Centric Bank recently held a collection drive for the EFP.  The result was the largest corporate donation of personal items we have received in anyone’s memory.  70 boxes of soap, shampoo, toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste and other items were collected by various bank branches.

EFP Needs

The EFP continues to recognize the need for cloth handled bags for walking clients.  These bag types ease the challenge of transporting groceries, produce, dairy, and meats home. We are happy to accept handled cloth bag donations.  

To supplement our healthy food offerings and choices, we offer a variety of personal care items, such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and toilet paper.  We welcome donations of any amount.  

The EFP also needs volunteers to assist with unloading and stocking of food from Midwest Food Bank on the 4th Thursday of the month from 11:00-1:00.  Please sign up for these opportunities in the Time to Sign Up tool on line.  Please contact the EFP for access.  

Lastly, we occasionally have a need to have runners to pick up food donations, produce, and personal items from a variety of sources.  Please contact the EFP if you can be of assistance.

Thank You

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?  

-Martin Luther King, Jr

The EFP would like to thank all the dedicated volunteers, donors, supporters, community partners, and board members for the efforts to battle food insecurity.  Our future depends on the collaboration of all in serving those in need.  From all of us at the EFP we are very grateful and thankful for all the generous support!

Thank You!  

Follow us, like us, check us out!

The EFP is on Facebook: Ecumenical Food Pantry Harrisburg-@ecumenicalfoodpantryharrisburg

Instagram:Ecumenical Food Pantry (Hbg)-e_food_pantry


With much gratitude and best wishes,

Phil Mackey

EFP Board Chair

Ecumenical Food Pantry and Friends of Midtown Food Drive

We would like to give special thanks to our neighbors, Friends of Midtown, for working together with us at the Food & Personal Care Item Drive planned for April 23rd 2022, and for promoting & publicizing the event and golf tournament.

Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

Winter 2022

Greetings Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends!  Hoping you are healthy and managing through a Central PA winter season. Spring is getting closer.

Our Mission Statement

“The Ecumenical Food Pantry supports those in the greater Harrisburg area who are experiencing food insecurity, primarily through the provision of emergency food assistance”


The EFP’s Executive Director, Deidre Lenker, created a proposal to reorganize portions of the EFP’s operations. Various phases of change were presented.  The EFP Board and MLC Council (Messiah Lutheran Church) approved moving forward with Phase 1 of the proposal. As a result, on November 29, 2021 we reorganized the EFP operation.  With the help of several board members, volunteers, and MLC staff, we relocated the upstairs aspects of the EFP operations to a portion of the area within MLC known as the gathering room.  Cabinets, desks, refrigerators, freezers, tables, frozen and refrigerated food items, and packed bags of food were all moved after the morning pantry shift.  We opened the next day within a warm and bright operating space.   This environment is more welcoming for clients in and more energy efficient.  All clients, volunteers, and guests are required to wear masks and practice physical distancing.  The EFP continues to operate under the State of PA Food Emergency Guidelines, which are currently scheduled to expire March 31, 2022.


The EFP is studying the possibility of adding one 40 cubic ft. refrigerator and one 40 cubic ft. freezer. These additions would expand our ability to safely store produce, dairy, eggs, and meats.  We are looking forward to acquiring the units through collaboration with MLC as to structural and electrical needs.

Produce and Proteins

The EFP is committed to have a steady supply of healthy produce and meat choices.  Our clients have emphasized their desire for choice in these areas. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are stretched very thin because of the higher cost of healthy food options. We thank our partners including the Central PA Food Bank, Spiral Path Farms, and Paulus Orchards for being valuable sources to fill this important need.  

Client Trends

We continue to see a steady increase of clients needing the services of the EFP.  We are currently serving approximately 1000 people per month, with almost half age 17 or under. The week of January 24, 2022was the busiest week in many months as we served 374 people.  We continue to see a high percentage of new clients who are seeking assistance for the first time. Due to many factors, we expect to see our client numbers grow over the next several months.


With leadership from Deidre Lenker, our Executive Director, we continue to partner with area health care organizations to facilitate our clients access to additional, non-food resources.  Contact to Care (Community initiative funded by United Way  and housed in Hamilton Health) and Pennie have visited the EFP to share health insurance marketplace options and services with clients.  Both organizations also donated personal items and hats, gloves, and earmuffs.  

We are also in discussion with Vista Autism to identify opportunities for young adults to learn skills volunteering at the pantry that could help them transition to future employment opportunities. 


The EFP was a gracious recipient of a fundraising effort by Knead Pizza.  Knead Pizza is a Midtown neighbor and we thank them for the support.  Proceeds are going toward fresh produce for distribution to clients. 


The plans for the EFP’s Second Annual Harvest Golf Tournament are underway.  The tournament will be held at Dauphin Highlands on May 16, 2022.  The event sold out last year and we are expecting continued community support to make this another successful event.  See our website, for further details and opportunities to register to play, sponsor, or donate.   

The EFP was created in response to Tropical Storm Agnes, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  Can you imagine the number of meals, clients, and volunteer hours the EFP has seen over the past 5 decades?    Stay tuned for further announcements and plans from the EFP’s 50th Anniversary committee led by Deidre Lenker. 

Strategic Planning

We continue to make progress with the EFP’s  2022-2025 strategic planning. Although the strategic plan looks ahead through 2024/25 fiscal year, it will evolve with the changing needs of those in our service areas and with the resources available to the EFP.  We will engage in ongoing review of our programs, operations and role in the community.  

New Board Member

We welcomed Lesla Sheeder to the EFP Board in January.  Lesla will provide additional leadership to an already active and strong board.  Lesla is a realtor with KW Realty and also a member of Messiah Lutheran Church Council.  Welcome Lesla!

EFP Needs

The EFP continues to move away from single use plastic bags for food items.  We have been using new green biodegradable bags.  The green bags are safer for food handling and better for the environment.  We always appreciate new biodegradable bag donations.  We also gladly accept handled cloth bags that walking clients can use to transport items home.  As many of you know, we strive to provide personal items such as soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant for clients.  These items are often taken for granted but families experiencing food insecurity may not have the resources to acquire them.  These items are most welcome via organizational personal drives or directly from gracious individuals.

Thank You

The EFP could not have become such a fixture in the area’s battle against hunger without its dedicated volunteers, donors, community partners and board members.  Our ability to boldly address the needs of clients now and in the future likewise depends on the valued support of these critical resources.  From all of us at the EFP, we humbly say Thank You!

Follow us, like us, check us out!

The EFP is on Facebook: Ecumenical Food Pantry Harrisburg-@ecumenicalfoodpantryharrisburg

Instagram: Ecumenical Food Pantry (Hbg)-e_food_pantry


With much gratitude and best wishes,

Phil Mackey 

EFP Board Chair

Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

Dear Friends:

It has been a beautiful fall in central Pennsylvania! As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, the Ecumenical Food Pantry (EFP) has much to be thankful for – especially the support of our community partners, donors and volunteers.

Although external factors contributed to the EFP seeing a decrease in clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a steady increase in the number of individuals seeking emergency food assistance in recent months. We know there are many families in need in the greater Harrisburg area who do not know that the EFP is a resource for them. We are working hard to publicize the availability of the EFP and would appreciate your efforts in helping us spread the word. We can provide your organization with EFP flyers, business cards and other items if helpful for those purposes.

Earlier this fall, we surveyed clients to ensure the EFP is doing its best to meet their needs. Not surprisingly, clients emphasized that they particularly enjoy receiving fresh fruits and vegetables. These responses underscore the importance of our ongoing efforts to seek out additional sources for healthy food options. To that end, we have partnered with Spiral Path Farm in Perry County, which provided us with fresh produce, as available, throughout the fall. We also are exploring equipment upgrades to strengthen our capacity to best store food and facilitate client choice. We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a World Hunger Legacy Grant from the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to support these efforts.

The EFP thrives through the generosity of its community partners and volunteers, including at these recent events:

  • On October 23, 2021, the Friends of Midtown hosted a personal care item (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) drive for the EFP.
  • On November 6, 2021, the Paxtang Lions Club sponsored its annual food drive to benefit the EFP, collecting an impressive 1,500 pounds of food.
  • On November 13, 2021, the EFP received 1,600 pounds of potatoes through the Grace United Methodist Church Potato Drop.

    Mark your calendars! The EFP will be holding its 2nd Annual Harvest Golf Tournament on May 16, 2022, at Dauphin Highlands Golf Course. Please be on the lookout for registration and sponsorship information, which will be posted to our website ( in the coming weeks.

The EFP is always looking for new volunteers. We need volunteers to serve clients during pantry operating hours, but also have flexible “off-hour” opportunities for drivers, stockers, bag packers and more. Volunteering at the EFP is a wonderful way to support neighbors in need, while getting to know others who are serving our community. Please visit our volunteer page for more information.

As you may know, GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity taking place on November 30, 2021. If you plan to participate on GivingTuesday, please consider the EFP. Donations can be made through our website and by mail.

Please follow us on Instagram (e_food_pantry) and like us on Facebook (@ecumenicalfoodpantryharrisburg) for additional updates. If you have any questions, please reach out using the “Contact Us” page on our website.

With gratitude and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving,

Phil Mackey, Board Chair

Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

October 2021

Greetings volunteers!  Hope you all had a great summer. Welcome to fall!  Here is what is happening at the Ecumenical Food Pantry (EFP):  

New Mission Statement

The EFP board adopted a new Mission Statement.

“The Ecumenical Food Pantry supports those in the greater Harrisburg area who are experiencing food insecurity, primarily through provision of emergency food assistance”.


Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard Blueberry Festival

On Saturday July 17 Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard hosted its summer Blueberry Festival and the EFP was the designated non profit organization to receive a portion of the sales.  Several EFP volunteers made pancakes, served breakfast, and provided EFP information to hundreds of attendees.  $2400 was raised for the EFP! We are very appreciative of the support of Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard.  In return the EFP encourages all volunteers to support this business. Address below. 

Paulus Orchards is located at 522 E. Mt. Airy Road, Dillsburg PA  17019, a short distance from Ski Roundtop.


Members of the EFP Board visited Hamilton Health Center on Sept 22 to share information about the EFP and to offer sample food bags to 75 people. All in an effort to raise awareness in the community about the EFP.  In addition, laundromats in the city were visited to post EFP information.  More events are being discussed with Hamilton Health.  

Executive Director

Deidre Lenker has been very active the last few months in community outreach, grant seeking, and general operations.  Already seeing an upward trend in clients and community recognition and support.

Welcome Returning Volunteers!

Our client numbers have been trending upward recently and EFP volunteers have been working hard to meet the demand.  There is always plenty to do to help the EFP.  It is amazing to see so many proactive volunteers each day.  We are happy to see many new volunteers but also very glad to see returning volunteers.  EFP is very thankful for all the volunteers who help keep us focused on the mission to serve those in need.  See link below for opportunities to serve.

We are going to be 50!

The EFP was established in response to the damage caused by Tropical Agnes in the summer of 1972.  In 2022, we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary!  Stay tuned for further details.   


On October 23 we will host the semi annual Friends of Midtown/EFP Personal Item Drive from 9-1. This event has been very successful in the past.  We thank FOM for all the support!  On November 6 we will be working with Paxtang Lions on a Food Drive.  Historically a significant amount of food is generously donated that day.   It is amazing to see volunteers step up and help with these events.  

Potato Drop

Our clients often share that they would appreciate receiving more fresh (or frozen) produce.  Potatoes are a popular option, in part because they store well.  On November 13, we will be receiving hundreds of pounds of potatoes through the generous Grace United Methodist Church Potato Drop operation.  We will need several volunteers to assist with unloading the potatoes that day and packing them into 5-pound bags.  Please use the volunteer link above to sign up!

Golf Tournament

The 2nd Annual EFP Harvest Golf Tournament will be held May 16, 2022 at Dauphin Highlands Golf Course.  Last year’s event was very successful as it sold out.  Looking for an even greater event is 2022.  Stay tuned for further details.

Saturday Hours

Recent feedback from the community is that alternate hours would be beneficial.  As a result, we are now open the 3rd Saturday of each month.  We will be open October 16, November 20, and December 18.  All 9:30-12:30.

Strategic Planning

As you may be aware, the EFP board is engaging in a strategic planning effort to serve as a high level roadmap for our future.  If you would like to learn more about our strategic planning process and resultant priorities, you are welcome to attend a discussion session on October 20 at 1pm in the Gathering space at the church.  Please email Amy Foerstrer ( if you plan to attend or if you have any questions but are unable to attend.  

New EFP Board Members

We have added two new members to our board.  Judy Baumgardner and Wendy Fellinger have been accepted to the EFP Board. Both provide a strong background and sincere desire to serve those in need.  We are very fortunate to have them as part of the leadership team.

If you are interested in an opportunity on the EFP board please contact Phil Mackey to discuss possibilities.  

EFP Shirt sales

Solve the dilemma of what to wear on a volunteer day.  We have a limited supply of cotton, short sleeve t-shirts and golf shirts for sale, with the possibility of ordering more if they are in demand.  T-shirts are $15 and golf shirts are $28.   If interested, please email Amy Foerster at  with your size preferences to check on availability.  

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Paper Bags Needed

The EFP is getting greener and moving away from single use plastic grocery bags for personal care and cold food items.  We welcome donations of brown bags in all sizes, particularly handled ones, if they are clean and not torn.  We also need reusable cloth or mesh bags, biodegradable bags,and unwanted backpacks. Clients find them handy to transport food home especially if public transportation is utilized.   

Follow us, like us, check us out!

The EFP is on Facebook:  The Ecumenical Food Pantry Harrisburg – @ecumenicalfoodpantryharrisburg

Instagram:  Ecumenical Food Pantry (Hbg) –  e_food_pantry


Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

We are pleased to announce that the Food Pantry will be open on third Saturdays of each month. The following days and hours are scheduled.

September 18   9:30-12:30
October 16        9:30-12:30
November 20.   9:30-12:30
December 18.   9:30-12:20

Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

Dear Friends:

I hope you have been enjoying our summer here in central Pennsylvania. It has been a busy time for the Ecumenical Food Pantry (EFP), as we continue to fulfill our mission of providing emergency food assistance to people in the greater Harrisburg area. With fall just around the corner, I want to take a moment to update you on exciting developments at the EFP, and to thank our generous donors and volunteers.

We held our inaugural Harvest Golf Tournament on May 24, 2021, at Sunset Golf Course. With 132 golfers, as well as 25 sponsors and donors, it was a huge success! Cool weather and a little rain did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for supporting the EFP’s work. We are already planning ahead for next year’s EFP Harvest Golf Tournament, which will be held on May 16, 2022, at Dauphin Highlands Golf Course.

Continuing its generous support for our community, Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards held its Blueberry Festival on July 17, 2021, with proceeds benefiting the EFP. The event included not only a delicious pancake breakfast, but also displays by talented artisans. We are grateful to Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards and all who attended the event for their generosity.

The EFP is delighted to have been one of the charities supported by Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Camp Hill’s Christmas in July. A special thank you to those who donated to the EFP through this fun “off-season” effort.

Please mark your calendars! On Saturday, October 23, 2021, we will again be partnering with our neighbors, the Friends of Midtown, as they host a personal care item (e.g., soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) drive for the EFP. Because we cannot use grant funds to purchase such items, this targeted effort is essential to ensuring we can provide these important supplies to our clients.

We have many developments to share on the EFP board and staffing front. Our new board officers took over the helm beginning July 1. Please visit our website for a full listing of board members. Additionally, although the EFP remains a volunteer-led organization, we are pleased to announce that Deidre Lenker has been named the EFP’s first Executive Director. Deidre’s hiring – combined with the board’s current strategic planning effort – demonstrates our ongoing commitment to a thriving future for the EFP.

The EFP recently added select Saturday hours to its current schedule of 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. We rely on volunteers to serve clients during these shifts and to carry out other food pantry functions throughout the week. We are always in need of – and warmly welcome – new volunteers. Individuals can sign up as frequently or infrequently as their schedules allow, and we are happy to accommodate church groups who wish to take an entire shift on a regular basis. Volunteering at the EFP is a wonderful opportunity not only to support neighbors in need, but also to meet other individuals serving our community. Please visit our volunteer page for more information.

Finally, please follow us on Instagram (e_food_pantry) and like us on Facebook (@ecumenicalfoodpantryharrisburg) for additional updates!

With gratitude,
Phil Mackey, Board Chair

Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard for a very generous donation of $2,500 to the Ecumenical Food Pantry

We are deeply appreciative of Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard for a very generous donation of $2,500 to the Ecumenical Food Pantry. The Blueberry Festival held July 17, 2021 was very successful. Several EFP volunteers assisted during the day making pancakes and serving food to hundred of attendees. This donation will assist the EFP to help those in need.

Ecumenical Food Pantry | Harrisburg, PA

The Ecumenical Food Pantry Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Deidre Lenker has been named the food pantry’s first Executive Director. Although the EFP remains a volunteer-led and operated organization – as it has been for 49 years – Deidre’s hiring demonstrates the Board’s commitment to a thriving future for the EFP. Serving in a part-time capacity, Deidre will collaborate with the board to support operations, strengthen community partnerships, and pursue and administer grant funding.

Deidre has been a long-time member of Messiah Lutheran Church and supporter of the EFP. She joined the EFP volunteer team in 2019. Deidre has served the Harrisburg community in many volunteer capacities, including with CONTACT Helpline, the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg and through community outreach for Messiah Lutheran Church. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position, Deidre worked extensively in the human resources field, holding leadership and consulting roles with both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Ecumenical Food Pantry Golf Tournament

Save the Date for the 2nd Annual Harvest Golf Tournament – May 16, 2022. Our 2022 Golf tournament will be on May 16, 2022 at Dauphin Highlands.

Hope to see everyone there!