NORWAY — Demand for food assistance is steadily increasing as Oxford Hills continues to deal with COVID-19. Most communities have food pantries to provide assistance to residences. Some businesses are providing free or low-cost options as they are able.

West Paris Food Pantry is located at 14 Church Street. It is a small pantry with a focus on serving families of West Paris. All are welcomed on their first visit regardless of their residence. Volunteers will give people from other towns information on other pantries for any future need.

During COVID-19, West Paris is open by appointment only using a drive-up model. Volunteers will also deliver to people’s residences if they are unable to get out. They are practicing social distancing and other safety precautions to protect pantry volunteers and patrons. As the pantry’s volunteers are mostly over 60 they are working with reduced staff. People should call 739-0771 to make an appointment.

“We distribute food provided by Good Shepherd Food Bank, retail donations, and purchases,” said Brenda Gould of West Paris Food Pantry. “With the safety precautions we are operating under, we are not requesting food donations from the community right now. If someone wishes to donate non-perishables they should call us to find out when we will be to accept them again.

Gould said that people wishing to help are asked to make financial donations directly to Good Shepherd Food Bank, but in July monetary donations may also be sent ATTN: Sandra Broberg, West Paris Baptist Church, P.O. Box 57, West Paris, Maine 04289. Donors should write “Food Pantry” in the memo line on their check.”

The Spurrs Corner Church in Otisfield is following a similar model for its food pantry. Otisfield residents should call 627-7032 to request assistance.

“We currently are closed to drop-in clients,” said coordinator Judy Ferguson. “But we will provide packages of non-perishable food items for Otisfield residents. They may make an appointment to pick-up but we will also deliver directly to their homes if necessary.

“We are unable to accept food donations at this time but will accept any financial donations people are able to make.”

Both pantries in West Paris and Otisfield are seeing an increase in requests for assistance but so far they have been able to keep up with the need.

The First Universalist Church in Norway hosts its food pantry on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until noon. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Below are other food resources for Oxford Hills residents. Availability is subject to change daily.

Oxford Hills Food Pantry, 35 Paris Street, Norway. No voucher needed during COVID-19. The pantry is open on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

The East Otisfield Baptist Church food pantry is open the fourth friday of every month, for Otisfield residents only. Volunteers ask what it is needed, pack a box of what is available and load it in the car trunk. The church is located at 231 Rayville Road. The next dates that the pantry will be open are Friday, Apr. 24 and Friday, May 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

West Paris Fire Association is available to help West Paris residents in need. Please call 515-2368 if for assistance or on behalf of those who cannot leave their homes.

Daddy O’s has partnered with First Congregational Church of South Paris and its charity organization to provide free meals to anyone who needs it, every Friday in April starting at 1 p.m. at their restaurant parking lot in Oxford. All meals are frozen and prepared by Daddy O’s. They will available for pick-up from the back of a pickup truck that will be parked at the end of our parking lot. There is no limit but remember that there are many in need. Please be sure to keep proper social distancing space from others and do not come if you do not feel well. They are unable to supply bags.

The Harrison Food Bank serves residents from communities through Oxford Hills at its 176 Waterford Road location. It is open on Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for drive through service only. A parking lot attendant will mark the lanes with orange cones & guide cars into line as they arrive. Call 647-3384 for more information.

A customer registration volunteer will check in customers at their car. Customers will drive up to the ramp at the rear of the building when it is their turn. Everyone must stay in their vehicles. Volunteers will load a carriage full of boxed food into the trunk (preferably) or rear seat.

Delivery service fills up to capacity quickly. Those who are unable to leave their homes should ask a family member or friend to come on their behalf, or call 211 for help to locate a service to provide assistance.

Norway’s Community Lunch will host a “One Day a Week Food Pantry” at the First Universalist Church, 479 Main Street, every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until noon. Citizens are welcome to select fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, baked goods and frozen meat.

Burger King is providing free kids meals with any purchase made through the Burger King app. The free meals are only applicable on takeout or drive-thru orders — not delivery.

Aroma Joe’s Coffee will serve free 16-ounce hot or iced coffee to healthcare workers through the month of April. Patrons must show valid healthcare I.D.


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