MADISON — A food pantry serving more than 2,700 households in four towns closed Wednesday, a few months after some residents complained at a public hearing about new leadership and how the pantry was being operated.

“Effective Immediately … People Who Care is Closed ….Trinity Free Shelter in Skowhegan can help you with your food needs,” read a message posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of People Who Care Food Cupboard.

Shannon Drury, who took over as the cupboard’s executive director in April 2018, did not answer phone calls seeking comment and a message said her voicemail box was not set up.

The closure follows complaints about Drury’s leadership, including criticism for collecting a stipend when the previous director worked for free and that volunteers were being “hand-picked.”

In the comments section on Wednesday’s post, Drury wrote that need increased and the food cupboard was not financially able to keep up with demand.

“Thank You all for your support it means the world to myself and the board … Please keep us all in your prayers,” she said.

Drury also wrote, “From the bottom of my heart I’m so very sorry this is the last thing myself or the board wanted …. Yes people did stop donating.”

Drury said in January the cupboard serves about 2,736 households in Anson, Embden, New Portland and Madison.

Although it is a nonprofit, a majority of the funding comes from the town governments of the communities it serves.

For 2019 the cupboard was scheduled to collect $28,250 in revenue from the four towns. The remainder of its revenue comes from solicitations, general donations, fundraising and grants, for a total budgeted revenue of $52,350, according to numbers provided at the January public hearing.

At the hearing, Madison Selectman George Elias expressed concern that over the last few years, revenue for the cupboard has decreased while expenses and volunteer stipends have increased.

“When people find one-third or one-fourth of the budget is going to salaries, it’s going to be harder to get donations,” Elias said.

In 2015, the cupboard took in $65,931 in revenue. Expenses were $45,986 and included $1,324 for volunteer stipends.

In 2018, revenue was $44,994 and expenses were $55,431, including $11,781 for volunteer stipends.

 


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