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Faith Food Pantry marks anniversary with food drive

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Faith Food Pantry marked their first year as a food pantry with a food drive organized by the Temple Fire Department. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 22, 2018 5:4PM

Within months of their opening, the Faith Food Pantry in Temple outgrew the parish where it operated, doling out 26,000 meals to those in need. This weekend, they marked the pantry’s first anniversary with a food drive to fill the shelves of their new – expanded – location.

The Faith Food Pantry, part of the Mission of the Temple Congregational Church, moved house in October, after renovating an outdoor barn across the street from the church. It’s a much bigger space, which has allowed the pantry to grow from an operation where volunteers boxed food items for customers, to allowing them to do their own shopping with a cart. 

“It gives people a lot more dignity,” said Maureen Cullinan, a member of the church’s Mission’s Committee, which runs the pantry. 

“I know what it feels like,” said Vicki Mellon, another member of the Committee. “There was a time in my life I had to use a food pantry.”

Which is why she wants everyone who walks through the door to feel unjudged and unashamed. Sometimes, she said, all that’s needed for that to happen is to have a conversation and make a connection.

Such as an nursing student, whom only had to use the pantry once to cover an emergency food shortage, but felt connected enough to the volunteers there to call them and let them know that she had successfully passed her exams. 

Those are the kinds of connection that make it worthwhile.

“It feeds our soul,” said Committee member Michelle Cohen. “This is the only thing that makes me happy. Well, not the only thing, but it’s up there.”

It’s not only the user side that’s growing. This weekend, the Temple Fire Department held its first food drive for the pantry – and it’s something they’d like to make a regular thing, said Cindi Connolly, as she was volunteering during the food drive Saturday.

“More and more people are struggling, and I found it important to give back. And to show our son that it’s important to give back,” she said, indicating to her son, Elliott Connolly, 6, who was also on hand Saturday to help donations make their way from people’s cars to the back of the department’s antique fire truck, where a pile of food was accumulating. “We want him t have that desire to give back to the community.”

The food drive generated 591 items donated and $243 for the Faith Food Pantry, and Connolly said she’d like to make it a semi-annual event, as well as collecting for the food pantry during any other regular events the fire department participates in. 

The pantry is open the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon, and the first Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. or by appointment by contacting the church at 878-4177. Donations can also be made at the church during office hours. Checks can be made out to the Faith Food Pantry.