NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Veterans can pick up free groceries from New Hope Wesleyan Church in New Castle Saturday morning.
Six hundred cars lined up for this food distribution part of the N.O.W. Project at New Hope, dedicated to nourishing others’ well-being. The N.O.W. Project has partnered up with VFW’s, American Legions and other veterans organizations to reach more people.
From 9 to 10 a.m., veterans are served first. They’ll receive boxes of groceries placed directly in their cars.
After 10 a.m., it’s open to the public, but the first hour is always reserved for those who have served, are in active duty and the spouses of deployed soldiers currently away from home.
People start lining up two hours in advance with semi trucks unloading supplies bright and early.
“They usually have a gallon of milk, chicken, turkey, depending on what’s available. There’s always hot dogs and shredded cheddar cheese,” said organizer Hugh Coryea, II. “There’s always yogurt, apples and onions. We get produce boxes too with potatoes, sweet potatoes and celery.”
Traditionally, people start lining up around 6 a.m. to secure their early place in line. Saturday morning, organizers told reporters on the scene they have close to 5,000 boxes of food and 500 gallons of milk.
Crews reported 650 boxes will be given to residents of Mercer County in need. Hundreds more boxes were loaded up to be distributed to vets in other towns and counties.
Some of these boxes travel up to an hour and a half away but some are just going over the county line.
“My goal is to get every VFW and American Legion within 50 miles of Lawrence County to come down and pick up for their great veterans at their post. There’s a lot of food here we give away and there’s a lot off needy people and veterans,” Coryea said.
“We want to be able to help out veterans. Elderly, disabled, family members, people with kids. We’re trying to get more of the food out in the community,” said Bradley Allan, director of Veteran’s affairs in Mercer County. “We have a lot of rural areas in mercer county so we want to be able to touch base with [them].”
Veterans picking up at 9 a.m. are asked to bring their I.D. Organizers say they are thrilled to be able to help the community and this food giveaway is a dream come true.
“It was their dream to have a massive food distribution years ago but we didn’t know exactly when that was going to happen. When the pandemic hit it just seemed like the proper time to get this started,” said organizer Pastor Chuck Rupert. “We’re giving away millions of dollars worth of food products. We’ve had thousands and thousands every other week lined up.”
Extra goodies were donated by community members, like extra pairs of Bombas socks and chili from Coney Island in New Castle.
To volunteer or coordinate a pickup, contact Hugh Coryea at email@example.com.
Organizers said the location of the distribution will be changing next week. Its new location will be at Cascade Galleria Mall on Jefferson Street in New Castle.