FARMINGTON — Donations made to the Care and Share Food Closet now through the end of the year will be matched by a local businessman.

Richard Bjorn has offered a matching grant of up to $10,000 for any donations given, Leiza Hiltz Scerbo, food closet director, said.

The Farmington food closet served 3,870 families in 2014, a total of 9,243 individuals, according to a flier requesting donations and mailed to area homes last week. Sections of town will receive the mailing at different times, she said.

Bjorn offered the grant last year, and the community responded by donating over the amount, she said. He did a similar matching grant for the Wilton food closet.

“It is our biggest fundraiser,” she said. “And it is harder this year than any other year. There have been less gifts and more need.”

Hiltz Scerbo attributes some of the need to layoffs from larger companies affecting smaller businesses. There is a trickle-down effect, she said. Some laid-off employees just need a helping hand until they can find something.

The food closet is at 508 Fairbanks Road and is preparing its annual Thanksgiving baskets for area families.

People can still sign up during food closet hours of noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. She expects around 300 baskets will be needed for pickup on Nov. 23. The basket contains a turkey and all the fixings, including pie crust mix and pumpkin pie filling and apples.

Donations of squash and apples are needed, she said.

While the Good Shepherd Food-Bank doesn’t supply items for the baskets, they usually do carry items that the food closets might want for the baskets. This year they are not purchasing any particular food items, she said.

The Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry food closet serves residents from 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. Residents are given a four- to five-day supply of food per household once a month.

The food closet is supported by donations from churches and individuals.

“With this generous offer, this is a great opportunity to support the pantry,” she said. “We just want people to know how much we appreciate this grant and all that the community provides.”

Donations may be mailed to: Care and Share Food Closet, P.O. Box 38, West Farmington, ME 04992.

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