CARBONDALE – Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton continues to respond to the needs of people throughout northeastern and north central Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dozens of families and seniors received a helping hand on Aug. 26 as the agency held a special food distribution outside its River Street office in Carbondale.

Volunteer Joseph Loftus said they assisted a wide range of individuals.

“We had people in their 20s with kids to people who are 60 and 70 just trying to get by,” he explained.

Catholic Social Services Carbondale Office operates a food pantry that has been open to the public every weekday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 18 months, the agency has regularly hosted larger food distribution events to give clients extra produce, meat and other necessities.

“It makes me feel very special to help others. It comes from the heart,” volunteer Lucia Sacco said.

The food distribution on Aug. 26 took place differently than previous ones. Instead of having cars line up on River Street, vehicles were able to pull behind the Catholic Social Services building as they waited for assistance. The change helped traffic flow much more efficiently.

“The cars were able to go behind the building. The city helped out by clearing out some shrubs so the cars could get through. It worked out much better,” Loftus said.

Volunteers braved temperatures in the low 90s during the food distribution, which took place from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m.

Mason Cuellar, 12, heard about the food distribution and volunteered to help distribute food.

“My grandma told me that they were doing a food giveaway so I thought I might volunteer,” he explained.

At an early age, Cuellar has learned the value of giving back to agencies like Catholic Social Services – and that small gestures can have a big impact.

“A few weeks ago, we got $100 worth of cereal and I brought it down here,” the young man said.

The Carbondale food pantry is open on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until noon; Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until noon and 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.; and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

Anyone in need of assistance can call the Catholic Social Services Carbondale Office at (570) 282-0460.