Volunteer Mary Ann Wills prepares bags of food to be given out during a special Easter food distribution at Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen and Food Food Pantry in Wilkes-Barre March 30. (Photo/Dan Gallagher)

“Food is not a luxury, it is a necessity”

WILKES-BARRE – Just five days before Easter, Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen and Food Pantry opened its doors to the community for a special holiday food distribution on March 30.

“A lot of people are struggling. We’re here to help them and support them,” Kitchen Director Mike Cianciotta said. “Food is not a luxury. It is a necessity.”

The Easter food distribution was open to anyone in need, no pre-registration was required. It took place at the Kitchen and Food Pantry property on East Jackson Street.

Volunteers Mary Ann Wills and Bill Leonhardt assisted members of the community that came looking for help.

“I feel like I’m doing something to help somebody that needs help, rather than sitting at home on the couch,” Wills said. “This is eye-awakening down here when you see the people coming through that are needy in the community.”

“They are so grateful to be getting something. It does me good (to help),” Leonhardt added.

The food distribution lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Individuals and families were given ham and other essential items to help them cook an Easter feast at home.

“They’re going to have a nice Easter dinner that everybody should have,” Wills explained.

The special Easter food distribution held on March 30 comes in addition to meals served at the kitchen every day of the year, including holidays.

On Easter Sunday, April 4, Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen will provide an Easter dinner to anyone in need. The meal, which will be served in to-go containers, will be a ham dinner, including a starch, vegetable and dessert. There will also be assorted fresh fruit that clients will be able to take home.

The Easter dinner at Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen will be served from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., which is the same time that meals are served on a daily basis.

In addition, Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen plans to reopen its clothing room to the public on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. The clothing room will be open on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

“We will only be able to allow two or three people inside at a time, with masks and physical distancing measures, but we want to get it open to help people for summer,” Cianciotta said.

Anyone who has spring or summer clothing that they would like to donate to the clothing room can start dropping items off at Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen any day of the week between 9:00 a.m. and noon. The community is kindly asked to refrain from donating winter clothing items at this time.