WAVERLY — Joining together members from both ends of food production, volunteers from Leprino Foods Company gathered at the Valley Food Pantry Thursday to lend a helping hand via a United Way Day of Caring.

Eight Leprino employees kicked off a three-day upgrade of the food pantry by clearing out the building, deep cleaning, and helping to fix the pantry’s parking lot. Friday and Monday other team members are expected to join in to paint the structure’s floor, install new appliances and shelving units, and reconstruct the organization to working order.

Both Leprino and the Valley Food Pantry were first-year participants of United Way’s Day of Caring events that strive to partner local businesses and non-profit organizations.

“It’s been wonderful,” stated The Bridge of the Penn-York Valley Churches Vice President Kim Paul, noting that the Valley Food Pantry became part of The Bridge last year. “Really they’ve done an awesome job and it’s really nice.”

Paul explained that The Bridge spends minimal money on infrastructure and operating costs to be able to give as much money as possible to serve clients, and thus has used a $5,000 grant from Leprino to purchase needed upgrade items.

“It’s just really going to help make this space a lot more friendly for the people that come,” said Paul. “It’s really a blessing, this is the Valley Food Pantry’s 40th year of existence and for this to happen and really to have this opportunity to be updated, it’s really cool.”

Sherry Boor, Leprino plant controller and community involvement team leader, told that every year Leprino’s corporate offices give a specified donation amount to each plant that then chooses where to contribute it in their community. They knew the food pantry could use financial assistance.

“We had a lot of employee interest in what The Bridge is doing because they help a lot of low income families in the community,” she stated. “It’s pretty important and we’re getting to the point where it’s not always about giving money for us. It’s really about getting involved and being a part of the community, and being able to get engaged with some of our employees, and let them come out and help is really important to us too.”

Sixteen Leprino employees total are anticipated to be involved with the food pantry improvements over the three-day period.

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I am a reporter with The Daily and Sunday Review in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. See a story? Let me know!