NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 15, 2013

Stocked and ready to go

Our Neighbor's Table prepared to help with holidays

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY – With Thanksgiving fast approaching, Our Neighbor’s Table has been working hard to ensure that its food pantry is well stocked going into the holiday season.

Lyndsey Haight, director of Our Neighbor’s Table, said the organization’s recent food drive on Election Day, along with others held by the Boy Scouts and local churches, were a tremendous success, bringing in more than 150 crates of food weighing more than 2,000 pounds.

She also said the organization is doing well as far as turkey donations go, and they should be able to meet their Thanksgiving Day demand when turkeys are distributed next Thursday.

“We’re doing OK,” Haight said. “We get a bunch from the Greater Boston Food Bank, I think at this point, given what we have coming in, if people have last-minute donations that would be good, but otherwise I would say we’re doing good.”

Despite the recent run of successes, Haight said they still need more food to help meet the needs of residents who rely on them on a week-to-week basis.

“We definitely still need food for the pantry,” Haight said. “The food drives really help us for the ongoing needs. The holiday distributions are kind of one time, extra-special items to help warm the holidays. But the food drives are really what help us from week to week.”

Over the coming weeks, Our Neighbor’s Table will partner with the Amesbury Police Department for the annual “Fill A Cruiser” food drive on Nov. 23, and the organization will also hold a virtual chicken drive during the city’s Santa Parade on Dec. 7.

“That’s where people can donate $2.50 instead of having to actually bring the chicken,” Haight said, adding that a local student will help promote the drive by wearing a chicken suit at the parade.

Those events will lead into the Our Neighbor’s Table’s big pre-Christmas food drive on Dec. 14, when volunteers will accept donations at Stop and Shop.

Outside of individual food donations, Our Neighbor’s Table will also have the benefit of a $10,000 grant recently awarded to the organization by the Provident Bank, which donated the funds this week to help support its food pantry.

While Our Neighbor’s Table could always use more food, Haight said the past few drives actually brought in so many items that some of it needed to be stored off site in the empty storefront that used to house The Cottage in Main Street plaza where CVS used to be.

“We’ve got a local business owner let us use some of his space at the Cottage,” Haight said. “He’s letting us use one of those empty storefronts to help store our food.”