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Food bank needs help as freezer breaks during holiday season

December 6, 2019 News Extra

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More than $1,500 in meat filled a dumpster outside Zion Lutheran Church on Friday after the walk-in freezer used by the Southwest Butler Food Cupboard sprung a leak and warmed up to 68 degrees. The food cupboard is in need of monetary donations and grocery store gift cards to replenish their stock once the freezer is repaired or replaced. Turkeys can be seen on the left and packages of hamburger on the right.

LANCASTER TWP — Sharon Klaiber on Wednesday entered the walk-in freezer in the basement of Zion Lutheran Church, where all the meat and prepared meals for the Southwest Butler County Food Cupboard are neatly stored, and immediately knew something was wrong.

“I was like ‘Oh my God, it feels like Florida in here,” said Klaiber, executive director of the food cupboard, “and it smelled really bad.”

When she noticed that the interior thermometer read 68 degrees, she knew the 28 turkeys, 350 pounds of prepared meals and 160 pounds of other meat would have to go in the dumpster.

She estimates the loss was at least $1,500.

“It’s a big hit and a loss for us,” Klaiber said. “We are a small food pantry and our families are already trying to stretch their dollars and if they have to go out and buy food that we usually provide for them, it’s really going to hurt their budget, especially at this time of year.”

She said the next distribution is Dec. 17.

After performing the gut-churning task of carrying a freezer full of rancid meat to the church’s dumpster and cleaning out the freezer, Klaiber and her volunteers set up a fundraising page on gofundme.com.

She said gift cards from grocery stores as well as monetary donations also will be accepted at Southwest Butler Food Cupboard, 557 Perry Highway, Harmony, PA 16037.

This is an excerpt from an article that will appear in Sunday’s Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.

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