Our mission is to ease the burden of living in poverty and enhance the quality of life for all who live in low- to moderate-income communities in Lackawanna County. We do this by offering emergency assistance in the form of food, clothing, household items, furniture, rent/utility assistance, and transportation to medical appointments. In addition, we offer social and educational programs for the children and families living in the Scranton Housing Authority Family Developments.
Friends of the Poor is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of IHM founded in 1986 by Sister Adrian Barrett, IHM. Formally incorporated in 2002, the agency currently has two full-time staff, two part-time staff, and several full-time volunteers through the IHM Congregation and the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. We operate ten food pantries throughout Lackawanna County. Four are full-time, Monday through Friday, and six operate as satellite locations one to two times a month. Each pantry is stocked with staple food items such as meat, milk, eggs, fresh produce, grains, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and canned items. Most are located in or near public-housing so as to target the most vulnerable populations in our communities, and two are on college campuses. Most clients fall under the TEFAP guidelines with an income level under 150% of the poverty line. The largest portion of our population are families with children and the elderly. We serve an average of 2,000 households per month duplicated, equaling more than 4,000 households or 12,700 individuals unduplicated annually.
We also hold large-scale, community-wide food distributions three times a year. These events are open to anyone and provide groceries such as meat, vegetables, eggs, pie, bread and more. They serve 2,500 families in November and 1,500 in December and April. In response to COVID-19, we have held community-wide emergency food distributions each Wednesday since March 18, 2020. The COVID-19 distributions serve over 1,200 families each.