With people losing their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and others experiencing ongoing food insecurity, Waterville and Winslow food pantries — one brand new, one that’s reopened, and one that’s been a longtime resource — are there to help.

The Winslow Community Cupboard, 12 Lithgow St. in Winslow on Monday. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

The new Winslow Community Cupboard officially opens this week at the Winslow Congregational Church at 12 Lithgow St. and will be open from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of every month. Volunteers will deliver food to people’s vehicles to ensure proper social distancing practices during the pandemic.

Organizers have been working to create the food cupboard for a few months and opened informally in March, offering food four days the first week, two days the next and two days each week thereafter, but on April 23, it will open on a regular schedule.

“We’ve served 130 people to date,” said Anna Quattruci, the cupboard’s assistant operations manager. “The first two weeks we served 112 individuals.”

On Monday, Quattrucci and Bruce Bottiglierie, operations manager at the cupboard, were organizing and shelving a large load of food from the Good Shepherd Food Bank, with which it partners. The food cupboard also partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will receive food from Hannaford at Elm Plaza. Businesses and individuals have been generous in donating a freezer, refrigerator and funds to the effort, Quattrucci said.

“We’ve had some large donations, but really and truly, it’s regular people — everything from $5 up to $1,000,” she said.

She said the need is great, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, when people have lost their jobs.

“We’ve had people in tears, people mortified to be there,” she said. “People say, ‘is it private?’ We’ve had people who have never, ever gotten food pantry service before. It has been an eye-opener.”

The food pantry itself is in a small building next to the church that houses the pastor’s office and the former Christian education space. To get to the church, one must take a right-hand turn onto Lithgow Street while traveling south on Bay Street. The church is about a quarter-mile from the corner of Lithgow and Bay.

Quattrucci said that while the pandemic is active, people will not be required to be Winslow residents in order to receive food.

“We’re figuring if people show up for food, we’re going to give it to them,” she said.

Annie Stocco, 13, of the Winslow Community Cupboard carries whole wheat spaghetti Monday as she stocks shelves with a shipment of new food items at the Winslow food pantry. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

In the future, the food cupboard hopes to offer a hot meal once a month for cupboard clients. It also plans to have a waiting area inside the building where clients can get literature about healthful eating, including recipes. The cupboard hopes to partner with the Book Fairy Pantry Project, an organization that links literacy to food pantries.

“They collect books for children and adults and put them in food pantries,” Quattrucci said. “So, when people come in, there’s a shelf of books they are welcome to take.”

Meanwhile, the St. John Food Pantry, located behind St. John the Baptist Catholic Church at 26 Monument St. in Winslow, re-opened in April after closing for the month of March to organize for keeping everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pantry, which has been in existence some 50 years, is open 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month.

From left, Grace Stocco, 15, her sister Annie, 13, and Megan Morrison, 13, move containers of newly received peanut butter before stocking the shelves with a shipment of new food items at the Winslow Community Cupboard, 12 Lithgow St. in Winslow on Monday. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

Anne Hodgdon, food pantry coordinator, said Monday that the pantry partners with the Good Shepherd Food Bank but is very self-sufficient through its Ending Hunger Walk.

“We love it and all our volunteers are so good,” Hodgdon said of the pantry effort.

The Waterville Food Bank at 61 Pleasant St., also is in full swing. It is open 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays, according to Sandra Hammond, the bank’s operations manager.

Hammond said Monday that some people were afraid the food bank was closed because the Evening Sandwich Program at the Universalist Unitarian Church and the the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen and St. Francis Soup Kitchen, both at the Sacred Heart Church on Pleasant Street, are now closed because of the pandemic.

But Hammond said she wants to assure people the Waterville Food Bank remains open.

“I’ve got a ton of food and we give out quite a bit — 50 to 70 pounds for a small family,” Hammond said. “We go way up to 60 or 70, 80, 90 pounds for a bigger family. We know there are people out there hurting. They need food. We’re here to help. We have kids packs for the kids, so kids have a little bit extra.”


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