Thursday November 15, 2012

LEE -- The Lee Food Pantry and Lee Kiwanis Club are teaming up to restock the bare shelves at the local food bank.

The two nonprofits are urging people on Saturday to pack a 40-foot trailer with nonperishable food items necessary to meet the growing demand for the pantry’s dwindling supplies.

Lee Kiwanis’ "Stuff the Trailer" event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the municipal parking lot on Railroad Street, across from the post office.

"We have done food drives before, but nothing like this," said Bette Flood, president of Lee Kiwanis. "I hope this will be a huge success."

The more aggressive food drive was prompted by the spike in struggling families and individuals accessing the Lee Food Pantry during the past year.

"I’m seeing a 30 to 40 percent increase and more younger families," said Sue Gore, the food pantry’s coordinator. "We’re going through a lot of food and spending up to $800 a week from our donations just to keep up with the demand."

Gore said that the Lee Food Pantry typically serves a total of 60 to 70 adults and children each week -- more than double compared with two years ago. Last week, Gore noted 133 people benefited from the food bank, which is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in the town’s Airoldi building on Railroad Street.

Generally, the demand for food increases around Thanksgiving because those in need are seeking to put food on the table while trying to pay the first bills of the heating season.


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However in its 20-year history, the Lee Food Pantry is having one of its busiest stretches, according to the all-volunteer organization.

"It’s amazing the number of people going through now," said Flood, a regular volunteer at the food pantry.

"We are living in desperate times," Gore added.

Formed in 1992 by several members of the former St. George’s Episcopal Church on Franklin Street, the Lee Food Pantry relies on individual donations of goods to keep the shelves stocked with can, bottled and boxed good foods, personal care items and cleaning products.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

Help the hungry ...

What: "Stuff the Trailer," an event to restock the Lee Food Pantry

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m.

Where: Municipal parking lot, Railroad Street.

Bring canned, boxed and bottled food items to help fill a 40-foot trailer.

Monetary donations also accepted by sending a check payable to: Lee Food Pantry, P.O. Box 335, Lee, MA, 01238.