Left to right: Carmen Lone, president of the Food Pantry’s board of directors; Savannah Rioux, supervisor of the Bridgton Branch; Rick Brackett, volunteer; Penni Robbins, volunteer; Erin Nelson, AVP and manager of the Bridgton Branch; Brian Siebert, VP and commercial loan officer for the Bank.

BRIDGTON — ‘The racks are pretty empty today,’ said Rick Brackett, as he walked through the Bridgton Food Pantry. ‘We had over 200 families just yesterday.’

‘These produce coolers were emptied yesterday. Just emptied,’ said Penni Robbins.

Rick and Penni are two of the many volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that the local people who lack food, toiletries, and even knowledge of additional community resources, can see those needs met at the Bridgton Food Pantry.

The food pantry is currently located at 214 Main Street in the basement of the former United Methodist Church. Being housed in a building recently purchased by the Bridgton Historical Society, a narrow driveway, and space issues left food pantry personnel with the lofty aspiration of a new facility. A dream that is now a reality, thanks to community partners, specifically, Norway Savings Bank.

‘We were able to purchase the property at 498 Main Street after receiving the $20,000 commitment from Norway Savings Bank,’ said Carmen Lone, president of the food pantry’s Board of Directors. ‘The Bank really legitimized this project. Norway Savings Bank is so well respected and is such an integral part of the community. When I tell people that we have a $20,000 commitment from Norway Savings Bank, you can see them take the project seriously.’


A capital campaign is being planned to raise funds for the construction and completion of the new food pantry. Interior designs are nearly finished for a facility (over 3,000 square feet) that will include a place for community meetings, space to add amenities moving forward, and ample parking.

‘Right now, we have people park across the street or down in the town parking lot and walking up,’ said Penni. ‘With the snow, it can be really hard. The new food pantry can’t happen quick enough.’

On January 24, representatives from Norway Savings Bank visited the food pantry to present a check for $20,000 to volunteers. Among the Bank employees in attendance were Erin Nelson, AVP and manager of Norway Savings Bank’s Bridgton Branch; Savannah Rioux, supervisor of the Bridgton Branch; and Brian Siebert, VP and commercial loan officer for the Bank.

The gathering provided another welcome chance to imagine how the new food pantry will better serve its clients and what could come next.

‘The land can really serve almost like a campus,’ said Rick. ‘We will have the opportunity to add more services for the homeless, for example, as time goes on.’

‘There are so many possibilities,’ said Carmen. ‘It’s just great.’

The Bridgton Food Pantry is open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Individuals of all ages in need are welcome at the food pantry, which has gone from assisting seven families at its inception in 1987 to hundreds today. It is always in need of volunteers, financial donations, and other support, particularly in this time of transition. For more information or to learn about how you can help, visit www.bridgtonfoodpantry.org.

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