To the Editor:

By the time you read this letter, we will have already rung in the new year. As I reflect upon 2020, I realize that the Sweden Food Pantry has much to be grateful for.

We have remarkable donors. People locally and from far away demonstrated that we are all neighbors helping neighbors.

The Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club not only became active in donating Health and Wellness Bags for local pantries, assisting when we experienced a box shortage but also brought area pantries together for the first time via Zoom to discuss concerns and share ideas. Each meeting I walked away with new solutions and ideas to help get us through these unusual times. It indeed takes a village.

The United Way of Androscoggin and Oxford Counties assisted with donations early on at a time when prices were rising and some products were becoming scarce.

A grant from Good Shepherds allowed us to purchase a used van through Ripley and Fletcher in South Paris. The owner, Joe gave us a great deal. We will now be protected from the snow, rain, sleet and hail when picking up food. Muddy River Signs from Bridgton also gave us a great deal on the signage for the van.

Governor Mills, through the help of the Federal Agriculture Department, made grants available to local pantries. This grant was processed through Catholic Charities. SFP applied for it and received funding to offset our over expenditure on food costs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our wonderful volunteers. Due to Covid about half of the volunteers were in a high risk category so were off the list. It was necessary to keep a small group of consistent people to keep safety at the forefront.

There are no words to express how much I appreciate each and everyone of them. Some operate behind the scenes and others in the forefront. Together we have delivered to the participants without a hitch.

We had several local gardeners come by with fresh produce during the growing season. Nothing better than vegetables coming right out of the garden.

At some point in 2021, we are all looking forward to going back to a shopping model where our participants can come inside and do their own shopping, rather than the drive by way necessitated by the pandemic.

SFP has both a website and a Facebook page. Check it out at wwwswedenfoodpantry.org

Once again, thanks for the support. We are indeed all neighbors helping neighbors.

Linda Bradley

Director

Sweden Food Pantry

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