Franklin Food Pantry: What a difference a day makes
Relieving hunger. Nourishing lives.
Think about the number of times a month you go to the grocery store. What if you were allowed to shop for food only once a month? Imagine some of the challenges:
The physical burden of lugging home enough food for a month
The notion of planning an entire month's worth of meals
The worry that you won't have enough food to last 30 days
The fear you will run out of an essential item like toilet paper
And then you had to walk home with your groceries, or rely on public transportation or a friend. And you are worried that your family would go hungry before your next monthly shopping trip.
Since even before I came to the Pantry 6 years ago, our practice has been to limit our clients to one full shopping trip per month. Even though they can come every day for bread and produce, they have only monthly access to critical items such as chicken and beef, eggs, milk, cheese, toilet paper, laundry detergent and personal care items.
As clients revealed their families did not have enough to eat; as they told us they could not afford to pay for basic needs like rent, medicine and utilities; and as they struggled with having too much to carry on these once-per-month shopping visits, we realized we needed to do more to impact their level of hunger. And, we had the capacity to help.
Client Services Volunteers Jerry Rinker, Anne Adams and Wheeler Smith prepare to welcome clients on Walk-in Fridays. The additional shopping days have helped clients better cope with their struggle with hunger.
In November, we launched "Walk-in Fridays," to ensure that our clients have access to enough nutritious food and personal essentials for the entire month. No appointment necessary. Clients can now make more frequent trips, taking only what they need and what they are able to carry. If they run out of something, or forget an essential item, they know they can come back in a week to pick it up. Here's what some of our clients are saying:
"It is a huge blessing. It helps so much to be able to have more ability to put gas in [the] car and buy any other items my children and I need."
"Thank you so much for providing this food. It makes an amazing difference. We are able to have food throughout [the] whole month. End of months were very hard."
"Having only one good arm, [I] don't have to carry so much once a month. Much more convenient."
We are working towards ending hunger in our community one day at a time, one Friday at a time. Walk-in Fridays were made possible because of the donations of our many retail partners and the generosity of our community. We, and our clients, are truly grateful.
What a difference a day makes.
Making an Impact
Carts for Clients - The Hockomock Area YMCA has awarded a grant to the Pantry to purchase ten portable shopping carts for clients who need a little extra help in transporting their groceries. Carrying many bags of groceries is a problem for our clients who are disabled or elderly, and for those who walk to the Pantry because they have no transportation. The grant was made possible through funding that the YMCA received from the Stop and Shop Our Family Foundation. Clients who are awarded the shopping carts will keep them for their own use to ease the burden in bringing food into their home.
Backpacks for Kids - When schools close their doors on Friday afternoons, some children go home to empty cupboards, especially those who depend on the federal free and reduced-meal program their school offers. With no access to the school-provided breakfast and lunch on weekends, these kids are at risk for hunger. The Pantry is working with Parmenter Elementary School to provide food on the weekends for children who might otherwise go hungry. Through a grant from the Hockomock Area YMCA, Parmenter gives backpacks to 25 children in need on each Friday. By utilizing our partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, we are able to supply food for the backpacks. The pilot program at Parmenter has been very well-received, and we look forward to working with parents and administrators to expand the program to other schools as needed.This collaborative community effort helps ensure more kids will be less hungry on the weekends.