LEWISTON — St. Mary’s Nutrition Center is changing its food pantry hours, effective June 6.

The pantry will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays instead of during the morning, and it will be closed on Mondays.

The pantry will still be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We aren’t aware of any other local pantries open in the evening – we are hoping the new Thursday evening hours will accommodate people who work, go to school or have other commitments during the day,” said Mia Poliquin Pross, Nutrition Center operations manager. “Mondays will be reserved for procuring, unloading, sorting and stocking the hundreds of pounds of food needed to serve pantry guests the remainder of the week.”

The pantry has seen an increase in visits during the past several years, making it increasingly difficult to keep food on the shelves during the five-day operating schedule. In 2014, the pantry served an average of 375 people per week. That number increased to 430 in 2015, and the first quarter of 2016 is averaging 540 per week.

The new hours will allow the pantry to further replenish supplies on Monday, so those visiting will get a full box of food, regardless of what day they visit.

The pantry is also doubling the amount of fresh produce it stocks. Roughly 30,000 pounds were distributed in the first half of 2016. Each Monday, pantry staff will bring in mass amounts to help stock the shelves.

FMI: www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org.


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