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Greenville / New Ipswich

Residents support pantry

$1,000 in donations and truck full of goods collected for St. Vincent de Paul

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Will Phillips of the Souhegan Lion's Club, right, and Tom Gallagher, owner of Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, collect money from a line of residents purchasing chicken dinners and raffle tickets at Nennie's on Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Will Phillips of the Souhegan Lion's Club, right, and Tom Gallagher, owner of Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, collect money from a line of residents purchasing chicken dinners and raffle tickets at Nennie's on Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Cathy Marshall of Fitchburg returned to her former hometown of New Ipswich to buy some raffle tickets in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry during a benefit dinner at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Cathy Marshall of Fitchburg returned to her former hometown of New Ipswich to buy some raffle tickets in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry during a benefit dinner at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Will Phillips of the Souhegan Lion's Club, right, and Tom Gallagher, owner of Nennie's 5 Star Cafe, collect money from a line of residents purchasing chicken dinners and raffle tickets at Nennie's on Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Cathy Marshall of Fitchburg returned to her former hometown of New Ipswich to buy some raffle tickets in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry during a benefit dinner at Nennie's 5 Star Cafe Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Nennie's 5 Star Cafe in New Ipswich hosted a chicken dinner Saturday in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — Dozens of residents poured into Nennie’s 5 Star Cafe on Saturday, loaded with canned goods and ready to chow down in support of a good cause. Nearly $1,000 in donations for the local St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry were collected.

Nennie Gallagher, owner of the cafe, was interested in giving back to the community that had supported her and her husband, Tom Gallagher, when Tom suffered a from a ruptured herniated disk that caused severe spinal trauma and left him paralyzed from the waist down in December 2011 . The couple received an outpouring of support from the community, and wanted to give back, said Nennie in an interview prior to Saturday’s dinner.

While selling tickets at the dinner, Tom said Greenville’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry was one of the first organizations that jumped in to help when he was injured. And with the local food bank running low and requests for assistance increasing in the summer — as those with children who were receiving free or reduced lunch at school now have to provide those extra meals — it seemed the perfect time to repay the kindness

“St. Vincent was the first one knocking on the door to help us,” said Tom. “It seemed right to give back to them.”

And it wasn’t just the Gallaghers ready to fill the food pantry’s coffers. The Gallaghers hosted the chicken dinner from 4 to 8 p.m., and from the moment the doors opened, they had a steady stream of customers.

“As soon as the dinner bell rang, we had people coming in, and the door has just kept on swinging back and forth,” Tom said. “I think the real measure of a community is how willing they are to assist. The majority of people here have never had need of the food pantry, but they’re still here.”

The event was truly only possible through a group effort from the community, Nennie said in an interview Monday. Nennie’s cooks volunteered to cook the meals, and the Temple Lions Club donated time to organize the event. There was some live entertainment, too, courtesy of Silver Wolf Entertainment, a promoter of local bands and singers based in North Andover, Mass. . The company had worked with Nennie previously, when she catered an event for them, and they were happy to lend a few singers for the event .

At the end of the day, the event raised a total of $945 for the food pantry, and collected 943 non-perishable items to help stock the pantry shelves. Maureen Stenuis, the executive director at the food pantry, had organized a push to fill the truck with items for the pantry. And halfway through the dinner , said Nennie, the volunteers had to reorganize the load and start packing the donations into crates, because the truck was overflowing.

Nennie’s also sponsored three raffles to assist with the cash donations — one, a simple 50-50, another to raffle off a hockey stick signed by Bruins player Ray Bourque, and another for tickets to a baseball game pitting the Red Sox against the Yankees. The night of the dinner, Buddy Lamarre of Greenville won the hockey stick and Allen Gauvin of Greenville took the 50-50 raffle. Raffle tickets for the Red Sox vs. Yankees game will be on sale through Sunday. Donations for the pantry will also be accepted at Nennie’s through Sunday.

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