Local Food Pantries Seeking Donations, Volunteers

By Lura Jackson

 

The winter season always comes with increased need for households of all sizes in Eastern Washington County as heating costs vie for the same limited resources that barely keep some families going during the summer months. In Calais and Baileyville, two food pantries are regularly helping households offset their needs by offering provisions whenever possible.

In Calais, the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry [ICEFP] has a client list of over 800 families from across the eastern portion of the county. For the holiday season, the pantry attempts to secure as many extra donations as possible to enable it to give families more food. So far this year, it’s been successful – for Thanksgiving, more than 140 baskets with turkeys and all the fixings were provided to local families, and an equivalent amount is being prepared for disbursement on Tuesday, December 12th. According to co-director David Sivret, the pantry recently received an extra dairy shipment from local stores and it will soon have an extra meat delivery from Good Shepherd, both of which will benefit clients directly.

Having Tradewinds Shop n’ Save and Walmart in Calais is a direct benefit for the pantry, Sivret explained. Between the two stores, more than $300,000 worth of product has been distributed to area families since January 1st. The food is going to the families that need it the most – to receive food from the ICEFP, clients have to demonstrate that they have a monetary need. 

While the Calais pantry is fairly well-stocked on holiday donations, it does have an ongoing need for another of its programs: Backpacks for Kids, which provides a take-home backpack each weekend for children who are at risk for being hungry at home. Donations for those backpacks, which include items such as toaster pastries, juice pouches, breakfast bars, small cereals, and other food for young children are requested. Sivret cautions, however, that no food intended for the backpacks can have peanuts or be made in a facility that has exposure to peanuts.

Aside from donations for the backpack program, the Calais pantry is also in need of occasional volunteers to help clients carry the food out to their cars. Extra hands are requested for Tuesday, December 12th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Christmas baskets, as well as during the regular operations of the pantry. The pantry operates on Mondays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

In Baileyville, the Church of the Living Stone hosts the Woodland Community Food Pantry, which is open to all area families regardless of their income. “We realize that many working families need a little help at times too,” said organizer Durward Scott. As many as 200 families come to the pantry each month to supplement their household needs.

The Baileyville pantry is in need of monetary donations to help it to purchase freezer meats to distribute to local families, and it is always accepting non-perishable food goods. It is also seeking hygiene items, including shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap, dish soap, bath soap, toilet paper, and men’s and women’s deodorant. 

The Baileyville pantry is open the first and fourth Thursday of every month from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. For more information or for help outside of those times, contact the Scotts at 427-6518 or Tammy Moody at 214-6927. To mail a donation, send checks to: Woodland Community Food Pantry, P. O. Box 706, Baileyville, Me. 04694.

“We truly appreciate all the support of our community,” Scott shared. “We thank God for each of you who choose to support our pantry. Together we can help our community.”