MOUNT CARMEL - New Jersey entertainer and Mount Carmel native Charlie Prose last month challenged local residents to make a donation to the Mount Carmel Area Food Bank, saying he would match the first $1,000.

The public responded, raising $1,000 in just four weeks.

"I can't express in words what is in my heart," food bank organizer Bernice Price said Friday. "It is truly amazing, and we are blessed."

"This just reaffirms what I've always felt about the coal region," Prose said by phone from his Mays Landing, N.J., home. "The community will always come together to help someone in need."

Prose confirmed he has sent his $1,000 donation to Price. He said he appreciated the thank you card he got in return.

"I am just thrilled to be a part of this and to help out this wonderful cause," he said.

Big response

Price said once a News-Item article appeared about Prose's pledge, donations and notes of appreciation came from all over the area. One person from Shamokin pledged to send $10 each month for 2014 and is already paid up through August, she said.

"They just wanted to thank us for the work we are doing," Price said. "All of their generosity will help us get through the winter."

The food pantry, run out of First Congregational Church on North Market Street, serves about 50 to 60 people on each of its two monthly distribution days.

Normal food supplies are not at issue, but Price and her volunteer staff were worried about paying for emergency food supplies and things like the electric bill to keep refrigerators running and the lights on.

Even more

The generosity continues, with employees from the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Mount Carmel nominating the food bank for a $1,000 grant.

Meanwhile, Price hopes Prose will someday return to the area so she and the food pantry volunteers can show their appreciation in person.

"Maybe we can work on him doing a show for us here," she said. "People would love to see the hometown boy come back and perform."

Donations can be sent to the Mount Carmel Area Food Bank, c/o Bernice Price, P.O. Box 258, Marion Heights 17832.