FARMINGTON — A need for volunteers may mean the Care and Share Food Closet will have to close on Fridays.

Volunteers are needed for both Mondays and Fridays, Carolyn McLaughlin, a volunteer coordinator, said Monday. 

It takes three volunteers each day for a two-hour period from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to serve residents a four- to five-day supply of food at the closet located in the Fairbanks Meeting House at 508 Fairbanks Road.

There is also an opportunity for volunteers to help in other ways, such as unloading food from trucks.

It’s a busy place, she said.

“Just when I think it’s backing off as we serve 13 families a day, we’ll have a day like Friday, when we served 24 families,” McLaughlin said.

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Two teams cover Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but we’re having a hard time finding volunteers for Fridays, she said. The McLaughlins prefer to keep the food closet open throughout the week, but other options are being considered, she said.

McLaughlin and her husband, Tony, have co-chaired the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry food bank for nearly 17 years. They have decided it’s time to step back and take a break, she said.

They plan to continue running the food bank through Dec. 1. Tony McLaughlin will continue his efforts to find free food sources from local businesses after that date, she said.

“It’s a good time to go,” she said. “We’re happy with our successes at finding extra food.” 

A recent $4,000 grant from the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area has helped purchase fresh vegetables and fruit from local farmers.

“It’s made a difference in how much we’ve had,” she said.

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The couple is currently planning ahead for Thanksgiving basket needs. They can’t count on any turkeys from the federal government this year, she said.

Area churches and the community will again be asked to donate funds to help the food closet purchase turkeys for the 300 baskets the food closet fills for needy families each year.

McLaughlin is hoping at least 100 turkeys will be donated. 

“If people will give $10 to $12, it will buy a nice turkey,” she said.

Area churches, especially members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, stepped up to help last year, she added.

The McLaughlins are working with Tranten’s store, which is trying to find the best deal for them, she said.

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One thing that has helped the McLaughlins with the food closet is being in the community and working with area businesses, she said.

The Share and Care Food Closet serves residents from the towns of Farmington, West Farmington, Farmington Falls, New Sharon, Chesterville, Temple, New Vineyard, New Portland and North New Portland who meet federal eligibility guidelines for food insecurity.

About 17 percent of Franklin County is considered food insecure.

For more information about volunteering, call McLaughlin at 645-2312.

Donations for turkeys may be sent to Mary O’Donal, treasurer, 102 Barlen St., Farmington, ME 04938.

[email protected]


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