By Ukee Washington

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa., (CBS) — This Downingtown charity opens its doors several times a week, getting more than half a million pounds of food to people who need it.

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Jill Briggs lost her job a year ago. “Times are tough. it’s hard to make ends meet,” she said.

The Lord’s Pantry of Downingtown is where some of that gap gets closed. Inside you see all the hustle and bustle of a busy market. Executive director Jan Leaf explains that’s how it’s supposed to be: “We’re set up like a small grocery store. Clients are permitted to come once a month and they select their own food off our shelves.”

Cans of food, fresh vegetables, baked goods. Clients verify that they are low-income. Volunteers help them shop. During each trip, clients get enough food to feed their families for about a week.

“I like going here,” said Diane Rivers of Downingtown. “They have good food.”

Much of the food is donated by individuals. Some of it is given by grocers through a Philabundance project called “Grocers Against Hunger.” And some of the food is purchased with financial donations.

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The Lord’s Pantry has been an all-volunteer operation since it started 49 years ago. “The only person that gets paid is our cleaning lady, and even she gives us a discount,” Leaf said.

In the last year, The Lord’s Pantry served more than 500 households a month totaling more than 1500 individuals.

“I’m thankful for them stepping in and doing what they can for us,” Briggs said.

Linda McAssey, assistant director of the Lord’s Pantry, said, “They’re just so thankful they have a place to go.”

The Lord’s Pantry believes no one should suffer from hunger.

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While donations of food are always welcome, The Lord’s Pantry says financial donations are critical so they can restock an item immediately when it runs out. You can donate through their website at

Ukee Washington