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Route4Me Donates Services to Catholic Harvest Food Pantry for Families in Need on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Meal in Trunk of Yellow Van
Image credit: viavado/iStockphoto.com

YORK, Pa. (Nov. 22, 2022) – Over the weekend, the Catholic Harvest Food Pantry (CHFP) gathered over 100  volunteers to load their vehicles with frozen turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, and other Thanksgiving staples in preparation for their yearly Thanksgiving deliveries.

This year, more than 1,700 meals were delivered to those in need in the city of York.

Roughly 70 families reported for duty to deliver these meals to their community.

Some of these families take less than an hour to finish their deliveries.

Their secret weapon? Route4Me.

Helping Hands Alleviate Food Insecurity

The seed for the pantry was planted in 1985 when a brother of the Franciscan Order serving St. Joseph’s Church in York noticed food insecurity among his neighbors.

He initiated weekly deliveries on his own, later joined forces with three other churches in the area, and eventually founded the CHFP.

Now, the pantry is one of the largest food pantries in York County, distributing food five nights a week.

They offer food, household items, and meaningful services to meet the needs of local families.

Pen-and-Paper Route Planning Proves Insufficient

Kris Pollick, Retired Executive Director, joined the pantry in 2005 and took on the task of developing the Thanksgiving program.

At the time, the CHFP delivered around 500 Turkey Dinners every Thanksgiving.

“The routing on the 500 wasn’t too bad,” says Kris. “I had a guy who really enjoyed doing it. He would get out a city map of York and just figure out where everybody lived and put the routes together for us.”

Pen-and-paper route planning took excessive time and effort despite the planner’s enjoyment.

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Route4Me Helps Deliver Thousands of Thanksgiving Meals

In 2017 CHFP joined Life Path Christian Ministries and set the goal to deliver 1500 Thanksgiving dinners with the help of services donated by Route4Me.

“We’ve been using the software ever since. Route4Me has been a Godsend,” Kris says.

“We can input all our delivery addresses; we only want eight to ten stops on each route; Route4Me does its little magic, and we’re good to go.”

Route4Me helps plan and optimize routes and provides directions for volunteer families to drive the routes.

“Everybody loves (Route4Me) because it provides step-by-step instructions on how to get from one house to the next. It gives us all the information we need.”

In 2018 CHFP and Life Path Christian Ministries delivered roughly 1800 Thanksgiving dinners.

Covid Lockdowns Put a Wrench in the Works

Things changed in 2020 due to the covid pandemic and mandated lockdowns.

Increased homelessness caused Life Path Christian Ministries to change their focus away from the Thanksgiving program and toward housing-related issues. The separation did not hinder the determination of Catholic Harvest.

During that year, the CHFP still managed to provide 1200 Thanksgiving dinners via drive-through.

Another Thanksgiving would go by before the pantry found itself in need of Route4Me’s services.

CHFP Takes Off All the Holds in 2022

Kris has since retired but still loves helping with the Thanksgiving program.

“This year, we’re in ‘22,” she says. “This year, we’re taking off all the holds, and we’re going to get back to our program where we have full delivery.”

She reached out to see if Route4Me was still able to offer services.

“Mark (a Route4Me routing expert) probably didn’t realize it, but I was jumping up and down when he called and said, ‘Yeah, we can help.’”

Route4Me and CHFP Realize Thanksgiving for Thousands

When asked how long it would take to plan the routes without Route4Me, Kris laughed.

“It would be a lot of time. At least a week’s worth or two weeks’ worth.”

And with Route4Me?

Lisa Wendt, the team member using Route4Me to plan the pantry’s routes, says, “I think running it from start to finish took less than an hour.”

She describes Route4Me as a tool like none other.

“I don’t know how we would do it without the software, honestly.”

Both Lisa and Kris agree that without the help of this solution, the CHFP Thanksgiving program would have to downsize drastically.

Route4Me looks forward to a long relationship with the Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, working to feed those in need during the Thanksgiving Holiday.

About author: Dominic Walker

Dominic Walker works as a content marketer as part of Route4Me’s worldwide remote workforce. A teacher of over 15 years, Dom knows how to break complex ideas down to the very basics and explain them in a digestible way. He loves answering questions, so if you’re wondering about route optimization, jazz guitar, or how to land a fat bass, Dom is your guy.