FARMINGTON — Some shelves are bare at the Care and Share Food Closet but that is not stopping preparations for Thanksgiving baskets.

The number of baskets needed for families is up to 300 this year, a little higher than last year, Carolyn McLaughlin, volunteer coordinator, said.

Last month, the food pantry served a record 281 families, or an estimated 800 people, she said.

It’s amazing the number of new families coming in, she said.

Open from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays, 35 people came to the pantry one day last week, 26 on another.

One volunteer recently told McLaughlin they had no idea so many people are living on the edge.

Coupled with bare shelves is a reduction in federal funding that pantries are experiencing. What was a $2,000 cutback is now $6,000 to $7,000, she said.

The bare shelves mean volunteers can’t put in items that will make the Thanksgiving baskets a little nicer, McLaughlin said. 

Members of Old South Congregational Church fill 50 of the baskets, including turkeys and the fixings, she said.

Other churches, including those who belong to the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry, have asked their congregations for donations to help purchase a turkey or potatoes and other items for the Thanksgiving baskets. The food closet is a ministry governed by FAEM.

Last year, turkeys for the baskets cost over $3,000, she said.

The food closet could use funds to help purchase turkeys, she said. Donations may be sent to Mary O’Donal, treasurer, at 102 Barlen St., Farmington, ME 04938.

Another need for the local food closet is volunteers.  There are volunteers who regularly man the weekday hours, but three people are needed to serve the larger numbers of people, she said.

There’s also room for some occasional help. Some volunteers have experienced health issues so McLaughlin would like to have a list of volunteers who would be ready to fill in as needed, she said.

For more information on the food closet or how to help, contact McLaughlin at 645-2312.

[email protected]


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