Watch CBS News

Mt. Airy church opens 24/7 outdoor food pantry for community

Outdoor food pantry now open at Mount Airy church
Outdoor food pantry now open at Mount Airy church 00:56

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- We've all noticed prices at the grocery store are continuing to grow as more and more families are finding it harder to make ends meet. But one Mount Airy church is stepping up to help.

Take what you need and donate what you can.

That's the motto behind a brand-new outdoor food pantry that's now open 24/7 at the Unitarian Universalists of Mt. Airy.

"We saw these other community fridge projects that were popping all across the city," co-founder Courtney Heinerici said. "They've been very successful. And this community and this congregation were really open to having one here."

Once the ribbon was cut here on Stenton Avenue and Gorgas Lane, families started filling up their bags with free pasta, canned goods and loaves of bread.

Heinerici says oftentimes the Mount Airy community isn't seen as a place with struggling families.

"Households in these neighborhoods are kind of like the invisible strugglers," Heinerici said. "So, there are people in this neighborhood that are suffering and they're often forgotten."

While feeling the impacts of high food prices herself, she hopes the pantry can provide some relief to others.

"We've really been struggling lately and we've been seeing a lot of people we know really struggling with just paying their bills and being able to afford food," Heinerici said. "Our grocery bills have doubled."

This is only the beginning of this food pantry. Organizers hope by the end of February they can get electricity to the refrigerator so they can provide fresh produce, meats and other products to those in need.

"The fridge is going to change the game for what we can store," co-founder Nicole Williams said. "How much we can store and we're just going to get it to people, we're going to get it out there."

For Williams as a co-founder and Mount Airy resident, this project hits close to home. She says aside from food, hygiene, period, baby and pet products will be available.

"We're often covering those hidden insecurities for a lot of people," Williams said. "Period insecurities, pet food insecurities. We're going to try to fill people's fridges and that's our goal."

A goal that's backed by a community willing to help its neighbors.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.