Peterborough Food Pantry meets growing need

  • Treasurer Richard Redding works at the Peterborough Food Pantry on Monday, Nov. 14. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

  • Peterborough Food Pantry Board President Gloria Morison stocks shelves on Monday, Nov. 14. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

  • Peterborough Food Pantry Board President Gloria Morison stocks shelves on Monday, Nov. 14. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

  • Volunteers work at the Peterborough Food Pantry on Monday, Nov. 14. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/16/2022 11:55:24 AM

The Peterborough Food Pantry, located at 25 Elm St., is seeing an increase in need this year combined with high costs of food, but through local donations by churches, help from local supermarkets and the New Hampshire Food Bank, this need is being met.

Richard Redding, the food pantry’s treasurer, said the pantry is seeing a an overall increase in applications for food and a 150 percent increase for those under 18 years of age from years past. Redding added the pantry is actively raising money and considering increasing its use of the New Hampshire Food Bank. 

“The New Hampshire Food Bank is a very good organization that provides food for free or at affordable rates,” he said, adding the pantry has also been coming up with creative ways of reaching out to donors. “The community has been incredibly supportive all through the pandemic.”

Redding cited local church support, NH Tackles Hunger and a program with Shaw’s Supermarkets that allows patrons to make a donation with their purchases as “tremendous sources of help.”

The Peterborough Food Pantry, a program under Peterborough’s Human Services Fund, is an all-volunteer community-based organization serving Antrim, Bennington, Dublin, Francestown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Jaffrey, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Rindge, Sharon and Temple. Over 95 percent of all donations are dedicated to fulfilling the pantry’s goal of directly assisting those in need. 

The food pantry began in 1996 when former Peterborough Town Welfare Administrator James Lenane and others, decided to “do something about those in our community who were falling through the cracks and underserved by available aid,” according to the pantry’s website, pfoodpantry.org.

The group initiated a community fundraising effort and established the Peterborough Human Services Fund (PHSF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to assisting Peterborough residents in crisis. Under the leadership of Board President Christine Mann and volunteers, the PHSF moved the pantry to its current location in the Peterborough Community Center.

The Rev. Bob Marrone, the pastor at Union Congregational Church (UCC) in Peterborough, said the food pantry was originally organized in the back room of the church. From there, he said, it moved to the Episcopal Church, and when Peterborough’s pantry was created, it was decided that it was easier to have just one rather than two in town.

Marrone said his church supports Peterborough’s food pantry in a variety of ways, including the donation of its Christmas offering as well as regular donations throughout the year. The church has also donated fresh produce from its gardens.

“We have a wonderful relationship with the food pantry because of our Monday night supper as well,” Marrone said, explaining that any leftover food often goes to the pantry. “They sometimes have food they provide as well.”

Each month, the Peterborough Food Pantry serves more than 300 families and households, including seniors, veterans, the disabled, children and working families who find it difficult to make ends meet, distributing the equivalent of 3,500 meals to qualified  residents.    

“It’s important to note that that the pantry is run all by volunteers and donated money and food,” Redding said. 

The Peterborough Food Pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Drive by pickup is available and arrangements can be made by calling 603-924-3008. 


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