NJ man's free food pantry grows beyond his garage

WESTVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Barney Corrigan's food pantry has grown so large that he's running out of space to keep it going.

He started the pantry shortly after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 6abc Action News was there last summer to see what it meant to locals in need. It grew from a small cupboard in his driveway to a garage full of goods. He set aside his career as a catering chef to continue feeding the community at no charge. Now, he's asking for the community's help.

"Little by little, it's just outgrown our house," he said. "It crept into our living room and now it's in our dining room, and we're in desperate need of a building."

Barney, his wife, and their four children live each day among scattered boxes of canned goods, produce, and personal products. While donations are still coming from across the country, their house is not prepared to store it properly. Certain goods are unfortunately tossed due to lack of space or expiration.

"We started getting stress, like, fractures in our walls and it went across the ceiling and I was like, that's it," said Barney.

He decided to begin living outside in his mobile pantry as a challenge to acquire donations to make a change.

"I got the OK from the wife," he joked.

For 22 hours each day, Barney will be braving the confines of a cold truck with little more than a blanket and a small heater. His community of more than 4,000 Facebook followers is pledging hourly or daily donations as low as 10 cents.

"I'm not leaving until we have a building," he said. "Either we raise enough money or, you know, we find someone that has a building in this area that's willing to donate to us."

Barney's family continues to support him through each big idea he sends their way.

"It's typical him," said his son, Brandon Corrigan. "Always willing to do whatever he has to do."

After Barney is finished living in the mobile pantry, he hopes to drive it throughout 10 cities while donating to senior centers and homeless shelters.

To learn more about Barney's pantry truck lockdown challenge, visit his Facebook page.

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