December 8, 2007
Food pantry is spreading its wings
We are now over 14 years old and like all teenagers we keep
spreading our wings as we find more and more pockets of poverty in the
suburbs, and rural areas. They are evident for the most part in the
I am working with St. Vincent DePaul Societies at St. Mary's,
Chelmsford; St. Joseph's, Lincoln and Our Lady of Hope in Ipswich. We
provide the food and gift certificates for these churches to help them
provide money for other needs a family may have that are hurting
This does not count the people who come to our doors, St. Patrick's
Adult Education and Day School in Lowell. We are a very busy little
pantry. Last Thursday alone we gave food for 50 families on Thursday
afternoon not counting Wednesday or Friday night who came to our door.
Our numbers are climbing all the time, especially this time of the year.
It has been many months since I wrote my last article for the newspaper
and at that time I mentioned a church I was in the process of working
with their Saint Vincent DePaul Society to help with food for their
families in the North Shore area. That did work out last spring and now
we have seven to ten families under our wings that we help with food on
a regular basis. In fact, I have a farm worker family I meet thru Our
Lady of Hope in Ipswich that I contact directly for any help they may
need. I became the godmother to their baby last month and what a joy
that was for me. This family works very hard and their wants are very
simple. I know as time goes on more and more families will be looking
for this help in that area, too.
We still have our 18 families in Lincoln, too that we help thru St.
Joseph's Church in Lincoln. We supply all the food for these families.
That has been in place for a year now and this frees up their money to
take care of other needs.
Many aspects of the community have supported us throughout the year
without it we would find harder to take care of the needs of others who
are facing financial difficulties-individuals, corporations, places of
worship and schools to mention a few.
I will mention a few of the business that have supported us thru their
goods as follows: Ken's in Marlborough gives us all our salad dressing,
barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. Families would not have these extras
which help to make food a little tastier without these donations from
Kwik Copy, Littleton Road, Westford has been doing our printing free
for years and without their help we would not be able to get the word
out as much or the forms we have to use for the pantry for information
Panera Bread in Drum Hill gives us their bread weekly which is a treat
for our families. Whole foods in Bedford donates to us once a week
various bread and dessert products.
Jones Farm, Parlee's Strawberry Farm and Fontes are the local farms
that give us produce all during their growing season. These donations
help us to give fresh produce to our families.
We get food at sixteen cents a pound a Merrimack Valley Food Bank and
also get food from a Massachusetts Food Program in which we get free
food each month from them. They also deliver free fresh food items to
us once a week from an emergency feeding program. Many times they have
fresh produce, like lettuce, which is free. Without the food bank there
is no way we could take care of our local families weekly and without
your support we couldn't buy all that we need for these families from
We have families that are diabetic, have high blood pressure, allergic
to certain foods and gluten , lactose intolerant, etc. I am a familiar
site in the local supermarkets shopping for the items that are on sale
that we need.
As we do not pre-bag we are able to the best of our ability to help
people to eat healthy on an individual basis.
It is not easy to have to admit, in our society, that a family or
person is facing financial difficulties and can't buy the foods they
need to keep healthy. Food is the first thing to go in a household
especially as the weather gets colder. The high price of gas along with
other expenses cuts the budget to the breaking point and many times
does. Many of my families work. In fact, some work three jobs in a
Until we have a realistic poverty threshold many of these families will
live on the edge and be lucky they don't fall over that edge in
desperation in trying to make ends meet financially. The poverty
threshold this year for a family of four is $20,650 a year. This is
ludicrous as this amount should be double that amount for the poverty
threshold. It seems our politicians never want to talk or do anything
about it. It is not a Republican or Democratic issue but strictly a
political one. I often wonder how they would feel if all of a sudden
they lost all their assets, income and had to stand in a line for food
at a pantry, apply for food stamps but find out their car is out of the
category to make them eligible or have to apply for Mass Health.
Depending on the situation could be denied. Unless they walk the walk
there isn't anyway they can understand this problem along with other
issues facing our country now.
This year the theme for fund raising will be "Eyes are a gift from God"
Do you look with His Love or your Judgment at others. I find that it is
hard not to be judgmental at times for all of us. People can't
understand why someone is dressed well or driving a late model car
(Could be that person lost their job and this is their only vehicle) or
judge someone for the piercing on their face or tattoos but fail to
realize this a good person and for whatever reason made some decisions
maybe in the future will look at it differently. "Never judge the book
by its cover"!
But yet as a society we are so quick to judge others without knowing
what is going on in their lives. But thankfully for our food pantry we
have a supportive community through monetary, food and volunteering
that has tendency to look at others with HIS Love.
I will be fund raising at all the Masses at the following Catholic
Churches: St. John Evangelist, North Chelmsford on Nov. 10 and 11; St.
Mary Magdalene on the Dracut/Tyngsboro line on Nov. 3 and 4; St. Mary's
Chelmsford on Nov. 17 and 18.
Remember hunger has no boundaries and we are one family in God. As I
have said many times it is God's Pantry not mine and He does work thru
people, no matter what road we follow that leads to Him.
Donations made be made to Chelmsford Community Exchange, PO Box 394,
Chelmsford, MA 01824 . You may call me at 978 250-3818 or e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need help with food or want to donate.
Check out our web site at:
Just add it to your favorites and it just says pantry. This site
was gift given to us three years ago from Linda Dano.
Sandy Donovan is the director of the Chelmsford Community Exchange Food
This Wicked Local site
Chelmsford Independent, 150 Baker Avenue Ext., Suite 101, P.O. Box
9191, Concord, Massachusetts 0174