Shrewsbury – Dozens of volunteers, boxes of produce and hundreds of customers – it’s another Monday at the St. Anne’s Food Pantry.
The pantry, an offshoot of St. Ann’s Human Services, is helping to fight food insecurity across Shrewsbury.
With the help of community donations, corporate sponsors, and volunteers, the food pantry has shop days for customers, where people can choose specific items from fully stocked shelves, including an assortment of meats. can. On days the store is closed, customers can pick up boxes of fresh produce. The Pantry currently has a Senior Day event for spectators 62 and older.
The Worcester County Food Bank provides much of St. Anne’s food. The pantry also receives donations several times a week from corporate sponsors (Trader Joe’s and Target).
St. Anne’s also offers monthly diaper distribution and weekly medical programs.
“The motive is really just to give back… It sounds mundane, but it’s true… It’s really rewarding,” St. Anne’s Food Pantry co-manager Melinda Needs told Community Advocate.
Nice runs the food pantry with Miriam Kant. Nice said a core group of 17 volunteers, “you can call almost any time of the week and they’ll show up right away,” are helping fill a list of about 400 families (about 1,400 people). .
Volunteer work comes from all directions. Some volunteers started out as clients who refused to take without giving. The pantry receives support from the Knights of Columbus, and every Saturday morning, an accountant volunteers to help St. Anne’s with paperwork and the behind-the-scenes skills needed to run a charity organization.
Additionally, St. Anne’s volunteers often form long-lasting friendships.
“Just recently two women who had just retired from Shrewsbury came to donate things. We registered with them and they are now volunteering here. This “The two women go out for lunch every Monday afterward, and it’s very exciting for me to see a new friendship in our 60s develop here,” Nice said. “I have a group of women who have been here for almost 35 years, almost 40 years, and we have people who volunteer regularly and we have a great time together.”
With the holiday season upon us, St. Anne’s is busier than ever with customers.
On Dec. 11, volunteers sorted through boxes of food and also distributed Christmas presents to customers. The gift was distributed to approximately 150 eligible families in Shrewsbury and was organized by St Anne’s Welfare Department. Work began in late August, with donations collected from numerous donation trees around town.
“We have a whole team assembling the bags…it’s a lot of work. Sometimes it’s really overwhelming for our clients because we get so much stuff, but it’s really overwhelming for the clients who need help during this time. It really helps,” Nice said.
Employees at TJMaxx headquarters in Framingham donated holiday gifts to 70 customers. Advantage Trucking Group donated his 100 turkeys and his 100 bags of supplies for the holiday dinner. This is the 11th consecutive year that the company has donated to St. Anne’s Church.
“It’s fun to see what comes in, especially this time of year,” Nice said.
Nice doesn’t want to stop people from helping during Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and other holidays, but the food pantry doesn’t have an off-season and the organization recruits volunteers year-round. .
Potential volunteers must be screened before coming to St. Anne’s.
For more information, visit the St. Ann’s Human Services Food Pantry website.