SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury has received a $75,000 earmark to establish a food bank as part of a $4 billion spending bill that Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law on Monday.
“The final ARPA bill represents months of work, compromise, and advocacy from countless stakeholders, and I am very grateful to everyone who played a part in securing these massive investments for the benefit of the Commonwealth,” Rep. Hannah Kane said in a press release sent after the legislature passed the bill.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar told the Community Advocate this week that the town was grateful to work with Kane, who he said has been a “great partner” with St. Anne’s Parish.
“We had been talking throughout the course of the pandemic on how can we use CARES Act dollars in the early days to fortify food supply, but then when this opportunity came up with the Rescue Plan Act funds, we had a great conversation and she put this amendment forward in the bill,” Mizikar said.
According to Mizikar, the overarching concept of a food bank was identified during the pandemic.
“As far as food pantries within Shrewsbury, we’re at this point heavily reliant on St. Anne’s Food Pantry,” Mizikar said. “They do a miraculous job with the core volunteer staff that they have in providing food resources — whether that’s direct food or gift cards and things like that — to residents from the area, from the region, from the town that are in need.”
According to St. Anne’s website, the food pantry serves people in Shrewsbury. It distributes food on Mondays beginning at about 10:30 a.m. while supplies last.
“But one of the challenges that we did see that we think we could improve upon is the long term stability of the food pantry, [and] not being solely reliant on just volunteers, potentially have the town play a larger role in having food available for residents and those in need in the region,” Mizikar said.
Although Mizikar said he’s unsure when the funds will be available, the next immediate steps will be to pull partner organizations providing the services together to develop a plan.