Robert Hartley, 44, from Stroudsburg, PA, picked up his second Emergency Food Box from our Food Pantry on Friday, May 15, 2020.

“The first time I came for Emergency Food, I didn’t know what to expect,” Robert said humbly. “But it was like opening a Christmas present. I was shocked when I saw all the fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. I couldn’t believe the bounty before me.”

Robert, like so many other people in Monroe County, is working reduced hours at his normally full-time job, while his wife was laid off completely, putting a huge burden on him to provide for his family of five. Being referred to The Salvation Army Food Pantry by a co-worker, meant everything to Robert and his family.

“Normally, we don’t need it,” he said from his car. “I mean, providing food for my family shouldn’t be a stress, but the reality is, at this horrible time, it just is.”

Since March 16, 2020, The Salvation Army East Stroudsburg Corps has provided over 600,000 meals to families in need. Per the current shelter in place mandate, our Soup Kitchen is providing a 3-day supply of grab and go meals, our Food Pantry, on top of our monthly Food Distribution, has been blessed to provide two emergency food distributions per week to our neighbors in need.

“We have been overwhelmed and blessed abundantly with the generosity of our community,” said Jill Brink, Food Pantry/Volunteer Director said. “It’s simple really. We feed the hungry. It’s what The Salvation Army does. It’s what we believe in. But we couldn’t do it, at this strained and uncertain time, without the generous support of our donors.”

“God Bless the people who donated the food or the money to buy it,” Robert said, quietly. “And may God Bless every person working so hard at The Salvation Army who touched it, who packed it, and who loaded it in my trunk.”

Robert, a 20-year volunteer Fire Fighter for the Saylorsburg Fire Department, like the countless others in our community, relies on the many support services that The Salvation Army offers.

“I already knew who The Salvation Army was,” Robert said, wistfully from his car. “My father was a State Trooper and always talked about the humility of The Army, how you guys were always there, steady, quiet, and working behind the scenes. He taught me to have respect for The Army, that you always showed up, without recognition or fanfare, simply happy to do God’s work. He gave me an appreciation of The Army before I even knew who you were.  Being a volunteer Fire Fighter, and seeing what you do, reinforced his message to me. Your Emergency Services Disaster Canteen shows up at 2:00am on a fire call with coffee and donuts, which means everything for us. You show up. It’s who you are and what you stand for.”

“We are filled with the love of God every time we fill a trunk of food,” Mrs. Brink said. “To have the privilege of feeding hungry bellies is everything to us. For the past 20 years, it has been what has fed my soul.”

“You are doing God’s work,” Robert agrees. “It’s one thing to donate the much-needed resources to feed families like mine. But it’s another thing to donate your heart, which every single staff member and volunteer are doing today. They filled my trunk with food, but they used their hearts to do it. And that means everything to me and my family.”

If you or someone you know needs help with food during the COVID-19 pandemic, please call The Salvation Army at 570-421-3050 or complete our Emergency Food Application online at: