SCRANTON-- A food pantry in Scranton got a much-needed donation Wednesday to help re-stock bare shelves.
United Neighborhood Centers recently had to turn people away because it had no food to give out at its Angel's Attic food pantry.
Now, one community leader is challenging others to donate too.
Bag after bag of food, more than 3,600 pounds, donated by members of Temple Hesed in Scranton were loaded up, ready for delivery to United Neighborhood Centers.
Every year for the Jewish high holy days, the congregation tries to help those in need.
"It's part of our idea that we don't just pray to change, but we need to work to change and to make the world a better place," said Rabbi Daniel Swartz with Temple Hesed.
This year, members found the need was greater than ever.
"I called down to United Neighborhood Centers and said, 'What do you especially need?' and the person there at the pantry said, 'Cereal, beans,' and she said, 'It`s empty, we need everything,'" added Swartz.
The shelves are bare at the U.N.C. on Olive Street. No food meant turning people away.
"In the past couple weeks, we actually had to put a sign on the door saying, 'No more food' and needless to say, the people coming in, come to us as a last resort. So when they show up and there`s a sign that says no food, they don`t know where to turn and we feel terrible," said Nancy Dressel with United Neighborhood Centers.
The U.N.C. in Scranton feeds about 20,000 people every year. Those with the organization said traditionally between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when they get the most donations, but many times the rest of the year, the shelves can sometimes be bare.
That is tough for people like Dawn Carpenter, who depends on the center for herself and her four children.
"I just lost my husband and my home in the last two years and places like this is all I have because I was denied everything. So this is where I have to come to live," said Dawn Carpenter of Taylor.
"I think people are not aware that this level of poverty exists in our own community and it does," added Dressel.
With such need in the community, Rabbi Swartz hopes others can help too.
"My wish, my hope is that if other congregations see this, that they'll try to match up. I`m laying down a challenge. We raised about 20 pounds per family and I`d like to see other folks do better than that and top us and help feed all these families that really need it," he said.
For more information on how you can donate, click here.