Brewer Schools Donate a Ton of Food to Local Food Pantry



By Rich Romero
OHI Resource Developer


OHI, HERMON, Maine – Brewer schools donated more than one ton of food to the Brewer Area Food Pantry the week before Thanksgiving.


Dennis McGrath and the fifth-grade class at the Brewer Community School held a school-wide turkey drive. The group raised more than $1,400, which they used to purchase 110 turkeys. Teacher and students arrived at the food pantry Nov. 20 with the turkeys and $105 in remaining cash and checks to donate.


The next day, 100 families from Brewer and five from Eddington picked up their holiday baskets at the Brewer Area Food Pantry. At the time of the school donation, turkeys that had been ordered by the food pantry hadn’t yet arrived.


“We were going to scour local stores Thursday and buy the turkeys,” said Brenda Leavitt, OHI project manager and co-manager of the Brewer Area Food Pantry. “We would have done that to fulfill our commitment to these families; however, it would have been a significant financial drain on the food pantry.”


Later that day, Sarah White and a few of her Jobs for Maine’s Graduates students from Brewer High School showed up with a donation of 893 pounds of food to the Brewer Area Food Pantry.


The two schools combined donated more than 2,300 pounds of food to the Brewer Area Food Pantry, and there are more donations planned in the coming months. Students with the Jumpstart Our Youth Program at the Brewer Community School currently sponsor a food drive at the school until Dec. 22. McGrath’s fifth-grade class plans a pasta drive in the spring.


OHI owns and operates both the Brewer Area Food Pantry and Bonnie’s Bargain Basement, a thrift shop that “turns deals into meals.” Proceeds from sales at the thrift shop are used to support the food pantry along with donations such as this from the community. Donations to the thrift shop which most likely won’t sell in the thrift shop are made available to people who use the food pantry


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.”


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 Rich Romero or Brenda Leavitt at [email protected] or [email protected], for Bonnie’s Bargain Basement, contact Darling at [email protected], or call them at 989-3200.

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