NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 13, 2013

Food pantry keeps shelves filled through summer

NEWBURYPORT — The summer is typically a slow time of year for food pantries, but Community Service, Inc. of Newburyport has lined up an impressive series of food drives to keep its shelves stocked as the supply of holiday donations begins to dwindle.

On Saturday, the National Association of Mail Carriers collected food as part of their Stamp Out Hunger initiative, and Community Service will be among several local organizations that will receive donations.

Meanwhile, Pennies for Poverty held a food drive at Shaw’s this past weekend, and Community Service office worker Barbara Leary said they would be collecting those donations today.

“When it rains it pours,” Leary said in reference to the surge of donations she is expecting over the weekend.

Typically food pantries like Community Service see the most activity during the holiday months, particularly before Thanksgiving and Christmas, followed by a sizable dropoff the following months. Many organizations suffer shortages in the summer as the holiday supply runs low, making it difficult to meet demand if new donations can’t be found.

In order to help combat that trend, Community Service has worked out a system where a different church will collect donations every month of the year, and during the school year students from the Immaculate Conception School collect food as well.

This month, the Old South Church on Federal Street will be collecting donations, and next month People’s United Methodist Church will be collecting donations.

“Each month a church does a collection for us, so every month we have a different church that helps us out,” said Martha Arias, who helps run Community Service’s day-to-day operations with Leary.

Located on the second floor of the Masonic Temple at 31 Green St., Community Service, Inc. has been a fixture in Newburyport for over 100 years. Founded in 1912, the organization’s mission to provide the best possible assistance, referral services and common sense counseling to people in need has remained constant throughout its history.

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