Michael Fourhman stood underneath the lights strung over Cherry Lane, next to Central Market, and shrugged. Standing next to a 5 by 8 utility trailer loaded with boxes of food, Fourhman figured the weather kept people away Friday night.
There was so much food – nearly 50 pounds in each box – yet no mouths to eat it.
“It just blows me away that this was destined for a trash can,” said Fourhman, who owns Fourhman’s Natural Foods in York Township.
Every Friday night Fourhman and his buddy, Dion Boyer, bring as many boxes of food from First Assembly of God in Manchester Township to York as they can. The boxes, given away by Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster County, are filled with an assortment of groceries, including bacon, salad dressings, licorice and raspberry iced tea.
“It’s completely random but it helps a lot of people,” Fourhman said.
The food is available to whoever needs it, Fourhman said. There are no requirements or qualifications for recipients. Most aren’t the type of people one might suspect to be seeking free food, he said. For many, it eases up their monthly grocery bills.
Since November, Fourhman said he and Boyer have distributed nearly seven tons of food in York. The most in one night was 78 boxes, Fourhman said.
With no one around to empty their trailer, Boyer and Fourhman drove the food to York Rescue Mission. It didn’t take long for a few volunteers to unload the boxes on hand carts in the rear of the West Market Street building.
“It’s great you are doing this,” Torre Smith, a resident at the mission, told Fourhman. “There’s a lot of unemployed people who’d love to get a package like that.”
The mission serves three meals a day for up to 270 people, said Smith, 58, who is also the head cook there.
Fourhman stuck around for a couple minutes, chatting with Smith and Ted Henry, another mission resident. The mission relies mostly on donations from Central Penn Food Bank, so random contributions are a big help, Henry and Smith said.
“There are a lot of women who come in here with kids who would love to hear that,” Smith said when Fourhman told him to spread the word about his Friday night giveaways at Cherry Lane.
Fourhman and Boyer hope to get a refrigerated box truck so they can bring more food from First Assembly to give away in York. They are limited by what they can load on to their small trailer and in the back seats of their vehicles.
Until then, they will keep bringing what they can each week, giving it to whoever will take it. The best part of it is when someone physically takes a box, Fourhman said.
“To give is actually to get,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep knowing I gave away an opportunity to give this food to people.”