Friday, November 14, 2008
Local food pantries need your help
One of the pleasures of the holiday season is bonding with family and friends around a great meal. But for families who have lost their jobs, face foreclosure or are struggling to make ends meet, this simple pleasure could be a luxury. These difficult economic times are devastating to increasing numbers of families who are forced to rely on local food pantries to meet their basic day-to-day needs.
Several local food pantries are located within ten miles of Carlisle. Their supplies are precariously low, and they need help to refill their shelves to meet the increased demand, both during and after the holiday season.
Drop-off locations in Carlisle
• The U.S. Post Office at 70 Bedford Road has collection boxes in the lobby to collect non-perishable items. These boxes are placed by Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, a non-profit organization in Devens, which has been serving the communities of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley since 1983. Asked about items that are needed in the pantry, Loaves & Fishes’ Executive Director Patricia Stern said, “We can take anything that any household would put on their pantry shelves.” She added, “The boxes are collected by one of our volunteers once they are full.” The Post Office lobby hours are: Monday to Friday 6:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
• Charlie Davis of the First Religious Society (FRS) at 27 School Street reported that the church runs a regular “kids collection program every Sunday.” The food contributed is distributed to Open Pantry of Greater Lowell by FRS volunteers. In addition, each year the church donates Thanksgiving dinners and personal gifts for a number of needy families associated with the Stoklosa School in Lowell.
• The Carlisle Congregational Church located at 147 School Street collects non-perishable food items for Open Pantry of Greater Lowell. The collection basket is located in the building and is accessible anytime. According to Administrative Assistant Debbie Pichulo, “Periodically [Open Pantry] asks for cash to buy perishable items.”
Towns surrounding Carlisle
In one of their programs, called
Mobile Pantry, volunteers deliver monthly
groceries to about 250 households with
homebound elders or disabled persons.
According to Program Director Suellen
O’Neill, “Holiday season, we get enough
to distribute, but the peak winter months
of January, February and March we have
historically low supplies.” O’Neill also
suggested that foods with low salt, like
canned vegetables and soups, are needed
for people with dietary restrictions. Details
on several volunteering opportunities,
including running your own fundraiser,
can be found at their website, www.mvfb.org/help.htm.
© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito