Food Pantry Celebrates One-Year Anniversary


By Rich Romero
OHI Resource Developer

OHI, HERMON, Maine – As the Brewer Area Food Pantry nears its one-year anniversary later this week, Nickerson & O’Day, Inc., again partners with the OHI-run operation to distribute more than 100 holiday baskets to local people and families.

The BAFP opened Nov. 25, 2013, and distributed 28 holiday baskets on its first day. Nickerson & O’Day donated more than 1,000 pounds of food at that time to help stock the shelves and storeroom.

Nickerson & O’Day, a Brewer-based general contractor and construction manager (and contractor for both the food pantry and thrift store renovations), will once again make another large donation of food for holiday baskets at 2 p.m. Friday.

Distribution of holiday baskets takes place at the Brewer Area Food Pantry (222 North Main Street) Nov. 21. Donations are still being solicited for stuffing, turkey and canned ham. Holiday baskets will also be given out in December.

Since opening a year ago, the BAFP supports about 107 Brewer and Eddington households each month totaling about 250 people, according to Claudette Nason, food pantry coordinator. Many of whom are seniors and children. The food pantry has distributed more than 30,475 pounds of food, received more than 10,500 pounds of donated food, and received donations from more than 80 area individuals and businesses.

“The food pantry distributes an average of about 3,640 pounds of food monthly, with an emphasis on providing nutritious food,” Nason said. “This includes a recipe of the month with all the ingredients to prepare the meal and the cooking instructions for the meal. The food pantry experienced its highest single-day use Nov. 7 serving 33 households, one-third more than any distribution day.”

Volunteers are essential to its operation. Typically, four to six volunteers are needed each day the pantry opens to distribute food, stock shelves and sort donations. In the past year, volunteers have provided more than 867 hours of service, valued at more than $18,000.

A new thrift store opened Oct. 28 for the long-term sustainability of the food pantry. Bonnie’s Bargain Basement, Turning Deals into Meals, is located around back of the food pantry building. Both are owned and operated by OHI, a Hermon-based nonprofit providing supports and services to adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness.

“While we want the thrift shop to be self-sustaining, a major goal is to cover expenses of operating the food pantry as well as to close the gap of purchasing food that donations don’t cover,” said Trudy Darling, thrift shop coordinator. “Make no mistake, though, we also want people in Brewer and the surrounding area to find it’s a terrific store in our area to get great deals.”

Bonnie’s Bargain Basement stores hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It closes Sunday and Monday. The Brewer Area Food Pantry opens 10 a.m. to noon the first four Wednesday and Friday of each month. It’s closed on any fifth Wednesday and Friday of a month.

To volunteer at or donate to the Brewer Area Food Pantry, contact Nason at [email protected]; for Bonnie’s Bargain Basement, contact Darling at [email protected] or call them at 989-3200.

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