OXFORD — Oxford’s Helping Hands Food Pantry has a new home, just around the corner from its longtime location at the town’s old municipal headquarters.

Starting Dec. 1, volunteers will be distributing food from the Oxford Congregational Church at 252 King Street. The pantry will also be open on Dec. 15 and 29.

Its January schedule will be announced next month.

Even before Oxford opened its new town office at 133 Pottle Road, the pantry’s board of directors had been searching for a new site. Town officials offered it space at the Station House Community Center at the corner of King and Pleasant Street, but heating and electrical challenges proved to be too costly for both groups. Last month Helping Hands briefly considered the possibility it might have to dissolve, but its organizers were able to make arrangements with Congregational Church officials.

Helping Hands Food Pantry is now operating out of the Oxford Congregational Church at 252 King Street. December distribution dates will be the first, 15th and 29th. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“We have been looking for new space for a year and a half,” Helping Hands spokesperson Linda Hooker told the Advertiser Democrat. “We’ve looked at kinds of options.”

The best option, it turned out, was right down the street from the rec center at the church Hooker attends.


“When she announced it might be closing, I literally stood at the pulpit and cried,” said Pastor Lindy Howe. Howe proposed to her leadership that Helping Hands move its operation into the church and the decision was unanimous, she said. “I love that it will stay in the (village) neighborhood.”

Hooker said services will be different through winter as Helping Hands adjusts to its new home.

“We are not keeping large amounts of food over the next four to six months,” she said. “Our freezers are in storage and we are not going to collect food through Good Shepherd Food Bank for now.

“What we are going to do is purchase food the same day that we distribute it,” relying on established relationships with local food retailers. “We are accepting financial donations through our transition period.”

Hooker said the pantry is still taking in food donations as it can but stressed that to meet food insecurity needs during the interim period cash help is more urgent. Residents and businesses should call her at 207-890-4215 for more information on how to help.

Helping Hands Food Pantry’s new address is not the only big change for the group. Hooker also shared that the board just voted in a new president, former Oxford Police Chief Michael Ward, who retired from the force earlier this year.

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