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Greenville/New Ipswich

Dinner to benefit food pantry

New Ipswich cafe fundraising for Greenville nonprofit trying to meet demand

  • David Salo of New Ipswich deposits a few cans of food into the collection bin at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, in anticipation of a food drive and dinner fundraiser to be held at Nennie's this Saturday.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    David Salo of New Ipswich deposits a few cans of food into the collection bin at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, in anticipation of a food drive and dinner fundraiser to be held at Nennie's this Saturday.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich will be hosting a chicken dinner and collecting non-perishable goods Saturday to benefit St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry in Greenville. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich will be hosting a chicken dinner and collecting non-perishable goods Saturday to benefit St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry in Greenville.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • David Salo of New Ipswich deposits a few cans of food into the collection bin at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, in anticipation of a food drive and dinner fundraiser to be held at Nennie's this Saturday.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich will be hosting a chicken dinner and collecting non-perishable goods Saturday to benefit St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry in Greenville. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — Summer is a time when the local food pantries are hit hard, according to Maureen Stenuis, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. Many children who were receiving reduced or free lunch and breakfast at school are now being fed at home, and the pantries don’t see the same kinds of donations they do during the winter months and holidays. But one New Ipswich business has a plan to give a boost to a local pantry: They’re planning to feed the community by, well, feeding the community.

Nennie’s 5 Star Cafe and Catering in the Newest Mall will be hosting a chicken dinner this Saturday afternoon to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Though the pantry is located in Greenville, it also serves residents in New Ipswich, Temple and Mason. Nennie Gallagher, the owner of Nennie’s, recently approached Stenuis, wanting to give the nonprofit a little boost as it enters the summer months.

“The community has helped us an enormous amount,” Gallagher said in an interview Wednesday. “This is just our way of giving back what’s been given to us.”

Stenuis was immediately interested in the prospect, she said in a phone interview Tuesday. The offer came at just the right time, she added, because with more food going out during the hot months, the St. Vincent de Paul pantry isn’t the only one finding itself short. The Nashua food bank where the pantry purchases a lot of the goods it distributes throughout the community, is also running low on supplies. When Stenuis got a notice from the food bank that it had a limited supply, she decided to focus her efforts on filling the pantry shelves another way.

“I’ve been trying not to go to the food bank and assure other places that aren’t as fortunate as we are will be provided for,” Stenuis said. But that leaves Greenville’s pantry with only about four weeks of food left.

Gallagher’s offer to run a chicken dinner inspired Stenuis to coordinate her own push for donations, Stenuis said, one that’s she’s always wanted to do. On Saturday, while the dinner fundraiser is running, Stenuis will be on hand with a pick-up truck, collecting non-perishable foods and paper goods. The hope is to leave with the back of the truck full of food for the pantry, she said.

The St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Pantry is located at the Sacred Heart Church on High Street in Greenville. The pantry services 170 families in the area; it’s a growing need in the area, Stenuis said. When she first took on the food pantry only eight years ago, there were only about 20 families using it regularly.

Residents can purchase a chicken dinner at $7 a plate, with the proceeds going to St. Vincent’s. The dinner includes a serving of chicken, corn bread, coleslaw, potato salad and beans, and customers can also choose to make their own sundae for an additional $2. Nennie’s will also be raffling off a hockey stick signed by Boston Bruin’s hockey great Ray Bourque. Tickets can be purchased for $1, or with a non-perishable good to be added to the back of the truck. There will be a separate 50-50 raffle as well to benefit the pantry. The dinner will be held 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

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