WILTON – The Wilton Area Food Pantry was notified Friday that local bakery Country Kitchen agreed to donate 10 cases of bread – about 150 loaves – per week.
For food pantry volunteer Michael Hill of Wilton, “It was just like we won the lottery.”
“We’re really overjoyed,” Hill said.
Food pantry Director Kitty McDonald said the pantry had sent an application for donations to Country Kitchen’s main office in Lewiston, and were surprised to have been chosen to receive the surplus. Some outfits that apply are turned down, she said.
Since the Wilton pantry had to apply to be approved, “we can’t give any of” their own excess, if they have it, to any other food bank, so McDonald says pantry workers freeze the bread halfway through the week to preserve it further.
The food pantry serves about 116 families each month, McDonald said, and that number has risen substantially since gas and heating oil prices spiked this fall. One month this winter, she said, the pantry served 133 families.
Families with children and elderly local residents come in the most frequently, she said. Everyone is feeling the pinch since prices began rising last summer.
The food pantry depends on donations to survive, as well as funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has not arrived yet this year. Without the help of the three churches in town, the Lions Club, Boy and Girl Scout troops, private donors and businesses like Country Kitchen and Hannaford, which donates food weekly, McDonald said the pantry could not hope to get by.
The Wilton Area Food Pantry serves people who qualify in Wilton, East Wilton, Weld, North Jay, and part of East Dixfield. Donations may be made out to Wilton Area Food Pantry and sent to the United Methodist Church, where the bank is housed. The church’s address is P.O. Box 517, Wilton, ME 04294