By Hillary Tomsyckfirstname.lastname@example.org
Originally posted Jul 13, 2010 @ the Wakefield Observer
Wakefield — After 28 years of providing food for those in need, the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry is preparing to open the doors to its new facility in the Americal Civic Center on Main Street.
The new pantry location will offer a lot more shelving space, opening much needed room for donations. A new refrigerator and freezer will also allow the pantry to provide perishable items which was not possible at the original location in Wakefield’s First Baptist Church.
“It was the size of a house pantry, about 4-by-4-feet. We also had to pile extra cans behind the stage in the church,” said WIFP Director Maureen Miller, describing the old location.
The pantry, which started out small, servicing 400 clients, was in need of a bigger space since it regularly supplies to 800 individuals, including 300 families, in need of assistance due to job loss, low wage jobs, and health related issues. After extensive planning, the shelves have been stocked and the Interfaith Food Pantry will now have more space to fulfill their mission that “no one go hungry in the Wakefield community.”
Miller as well as Julie Theriault, president of the pantry’s Board of Directors, began planning the move nearly a year ago after hearing that the space inside the center, previously occupied by the Wakefield Historical Society, would be vacant.
“It was the perfect space, it’s downtown, easily accessible, and it’s private,” Miller said of the Civic Center.
Miller and Theriault visited many surrounding shelters, in preparation for the move, to determine the best way to organize and utilize the new space.
The pantry which is run entirely by volunteers, receives donations from local families, schools, religious groups, as well as Boy Scout troops, who have their own designated shelves which they work to keep filled all year long. The pantry also receives support from the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as Shaw’s Supermarkets which provides bread to the pantry.
With the new shelf space as well as the refrigerator, donated by Wakefield’s Rotary Club, Miller said the goal is to provide Wakefield families and individuals in need with a three-to-four-day supply of groceries every two weeks.
The pantry is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with new extended hours on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., giving those who work a chance to come in as well. Donations can be dropped off at the William J. Lee Town Hall during office hours. For more information on how to volunteer and give, visit www.wifoodpantry.org.