Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
It’s the final day of War—and suddenly you realize that you have leftovers. Cans of unopened soup, boxes of cereal, bottles of water, perfectly good broccoli and carrots, even bottles of shampoo or extra socks. They won’t fit in the car because of all the armour and fabric you bought. What to do? In past years, it would be off to the dumpster, but not this year. A group of locally-based SCAdians known as the Paladin’s Pantry are making it possible for those leftovers to go to those who need it most.
THL Morien McBain says the idea came to him two years ago when he and his lady were unpacking from Pennsic, and realized how much food they had brought back with them because no one else could or would take it.“ There was cereal, powdered milk, soda neither of us would drink, canned goods we hadn't bought, and a lot of it went straight into our collection bin for our donations to our local food bank. It occurred to me how much stuff there must be that people buy, but wouldn't necessarily eat once they got home.”
A teacher, THL Morien had run food drives at the school where he teaches, so the idea of putting one together for Pennsic seemed natural. “ It worked like a charm! Scadians are some of the most generous folks you are likely to meet, rich in compassion, and once Their Excellencies Uiliam and Constance of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands got on board, things really took off” Last year’s drive was not advertised other than by word of mouth, but they collected two trunkloads of non-perishable food in just two days. This year, the drive is being advertised on social media and message boards. “So far the feedback we've been gotten has been very heartening!” said THL Morien.
Donations will be kept as local as possible. The Paladin’s Pantry is working with Portersville Food and Fellowship for food items and the Salvation Army in Butler for non-food items and any food that the Food and Fellowship does not need or cannot use. THL Morien stated, “We're hoping for non-perishable unopened foodstuffs and beverages (no alcohol, please!), plus certain perishables like apples, bread, nuts, and so on. By and large, the things food banks most often need are canned chicken or tuna, peanut butter, chunky soups, rice, baby formula, pasta (preferably whole wheat), oatmeal, cereals, canned vegetables, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, dried beans and peas, and dehydrated milk, but we'll take anything people can share! We sadly can't accept fresh meat and dairy, as we don't have the means to keep it cool until delivery”
“Personal hygiene supplies like shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers and baby wipes are also very welcome. In addition, this year we're expanding our program to include the collection of used tents, coolers, cots, sleeping bags, coats, rain gear (especially those in child sizes), and other camping sundries that will be of use to homeless individuals and families.”
Based on the response so far, the Paladin’s Pantry is anticipating a great many more donations than last year. “We hope lots of folks will bring their donations by The Lusty Wench Tavern encampment in E17 (look for the pub sign and the tall banners), but if people call or text us at (304) 283-5640, we'll arrange pickup at your camp.” Volunteers are needed to help collect the largesse during the second week of War. The first load will be dropped off at the pantries on Thursday, with additional runs being made on Friday and during final teardown on Saturday. THL Morien is also happy to answer any additional questions by phone or text at the number above.