Kat Whitney, Program and Planning Coordinator at HCC, sets up the bags on a table in the parking lot on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Members of the community were encouraged to drive in and help themselves to a bag of food. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINTON — Healthy Community Coalition [HCC], in collaboration with Hannaford and Franklin Memorial Hospital, gave away 100 bags of food to the community. The bags were distributed on a first come, first served basis, and were loaded with everything a person needs to make a holiday dinner.

“This food is purchased from Hannaford,” Sabrina Keene, program coordinator of HCC said. “They have been extremely helpful with their Hannaford to-go ordering extra stuff for us that they don’t have in the stores.”

Funding for the food came from the John T. Gorman Foundation and information for the event was made available on HCC’s Facebook page.

“Our Healthy Community Coalition Facebook page has a flyer up for today, saying that this starts at 9 a.m. First come, first serve,” Keene said. “We’re not going to be reserving any bags. [so, it was] between the hospital newsletter, talking with patients at the pantry, and then our followers on our Facebook page.”

The food in the bags were non-perishable items and were staged outside the HCC building on a table with black bags. People pulled into the small parking lot, received a bag, and pulled out prepared for holiday supper.

A portion of the 100 bags of food staged in one of HCC’s conference rooms on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The food was purchased through Hannaford, who also helped by ordering items that were not in stock so that every bag had shelf stable food. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“It was really Erica’s idea to do something for the holidays,” Keene commented.


“We had this funding that we were trying to come up with some new ideas for we started at Thanksgiving, we worked up 45 bags to give out to the community,” Ericka Buote, an administrative assistant at HCC, stated.  “So, with the impacts from [COVID-19] and food insecurities, this just, it came at the perfect time to give Thanksgiving back.”

The 45 bags at Thanksgiving were such a success that Keene and Buote wanted to try again for Christmas, but this time upping the volume.

“We said ‘let’s do 100 for the Christmas bags.’ Let’s basically double it and see how that goes,” Buote said. “So, we knew if we were doing 100, we’d have to advertise a little bit more. And that’s why it’s on our Facebook page and the hospital stepped in and helped put it on their website and all their media.”

Previously, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, HCC tried to do something similar with boxes of emergency food. However, it created a problem given the location of the HCC building on Wilton Rd. “People were trying to take a left and they’re trying to take a right to pull in and yeah, it just was impossible. Main Road was just so congested,” Jason Labbe, a program and planning coordinator at HCC, said.

Buote expressed interest in doing the food bag, or something similar, next year if funding will allow it.

“The whole team helped put the bags together, you should have seen the conference room the day we did it,” she said. “It took us less than an hour, I think [with] just everybody working together. So, I’m sure everyone here would like to be able to do that again.”

Comments are not available on this story.