FARMINGTON — A donation of 235 cases of food, $3,000 worth, was delivered to the local Care and Share Food Closet on Tuesday afternoon. 

It was a gift from the Farmington Hannaford in recognition of the completion of remodeling the local store.

When store Manager Tim Bryant read a recent Sun Journal article about the plight of the local food closet and its loss of some federal funding, he asked the Hannaford organization what they could do, said Bernie Ouellette, Hannaford district manager.

Preparing for the Farmington store’s grand reopening on Nov. 10 after months of work, the store is given some funds to spend locally to thank the community for being patient during the remodeling, Bryant said Tuesday.

Usually, it amounts to a check earmarked for a local organization, but pictures of empty food pallets at the food closet spoke volumes to him, he said.

“It was a perfect opportunity to help with a real need and to reach out to the community,” he said. “We thought the donated food would go further.”

After checking with the local United Way of the Tri-Valley Area to see what types of items the food closet might need, a truck from the Portland distribution center arrived at the food closet Tuesday with cans of Hannaford pasta sauce, vegetables, peanut butter and soup, as well as spaghetti, rice, macaroni and cereal.

“We didn’t know what was coming, but it’s most welcome,” said Carolyn McLaughlin, co-coordinator of the food closet. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had both spaghetti and macaroni here at the same time. We haven’t had the money to buy it.”

Stores across New England and New York are participating in Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger, a campaign focused on feeding the hungry. The 56 Maine stores launched their start this week with a goal “to help feed the one in seven state residents who do not have access to enough nutritious food,” according to a news release.

The stores work to provide food and monetary donations to local food pantries and regional food banks.

“This program makes it convenient for Hannaford customers to support neighbors who are struggling,” said Eric Bloom, company spokesman. “At a time when the need continues to grow, Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger allows people to make donations right at the supermarket and purchase food items that trigger matching donations by Hannaford.”

The program involves three promotions including Hannaford Helping Hands, boxes of food at the store that customers can purchase and either take to their church or food closet or the store will deliver to a food closet, said Tap Fitzgerald of Hannaford’s marketing department.

Last year, 75,000 boxes were donated by customers from the 181 stores throughout the Northeast, he said.

Another opportunity comes from donations made during check-out in December. Last year, more than $99,000 was accepted in at-the-register donations.

The stores also hold a buy-one, give-one opportunity from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15. When a customer buys a box of spaghetti, for example, the store donates a box to a local food pantry, Fitzgerald said.

“When one in four kids doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from, it’s great to get the food out,” Fitzgerald said.

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