Bruce Bottiglierie, operations manager at the Winslow Community Cupboard, sorts through a shipment of new food items in April at the Winslow food pantry. The pantry is located at 12 Lithgow St. in Winslow. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file photo Buy this Photo

Two truckloads of U.S. Department of Agriculture food boxes will be available at the Winslow Community Cupboard on Saturday for those in need.

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “truck to trunk” program, the pantry acquired more than 2,300 boxes of food to give away Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

Located next to the Winslow Congregational Church at 12 Lithgrow St., the food pantry formally opened March 28 and serves more than 130 families weekly. More and more families are coming weekly, and operations manager Bruce Bottiglierie said the need in the Winslow area is “surprisingly high” as those from other towns are coming, too.

“We have continued to serve everyone, because we’ve had comments … that people live in a small town and are uncomfortable to go to their food bank,” Bottiglierie said. “They like to come to us because people feel more comfortable with us.”

The “truck to trunk” program gives boxes of approximately 25-30 pounds of dairy, meat and produce to families. The Winslow Community Cupboard began participating in the program last week, and gave away all of their 1,152 boxes in a little more than four hours. The program, spurred on due to the coronavirus pandemic, runs each weekend through October. The overall USDA program is in its third phase after starting in May through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“Since we’ve had overwhelming response, I bit the bullet and ordered two trucks this weekend,” Bottiglierie said. If demand remains high, he’ll order a third truck for the following weekend.

For the USDA program, Bottiglierie struck a partnership with Vincent Farms in Delaware to organize the box deliveries. The original government contract was for 14 trucks a week coming to Maine.

“Because we’re also partnered with Good Shepherd, I was able to get contract information from them to get direct shipment,” Bottiglierie said.

The Winslow Community Cupboard is open regularly on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7.p.m.

Bottiglierie said a line starts forming before 9 a.m. In terms of coronavirus safety, volunteers put orders together and deliver them directly to the trunks of cars for a contact-free experience.

The Winslow Community Cupboard partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Good Shepherd Food Bank. They also receive food from the Elm Plaza Hannaford in Waterville. Other individuals and businesses donate food, money and supplies.

“A family will easily walk out of here with over 100 pounds of food every two weeks,” Bottiglierie said.

Due to an increasing need and serving more families, the pantry is accepting monetary donations by mail. They can be reached via email at [email protected]


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