Food drive helps Westborough Food Pantry keep up with demand

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Food drive helps Westborough Food Pantry keep up with demand
Volunteers from Boy Scouts Troop 4 in Shrewsbury help sort donations during the ASP food drive on April 6 at the Westborough Food Pantry. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – Dozens of bags lined the second floor of the Westborough Food Pantry on East Main Street on April 6.

Donations for the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) food drive did not remain bagged for long. Volunteers from the ASP and Boy Scout Troop 4 from Shrewsbury grabbed the bags and sorted the donations. After they were checked for any signs of damage and whether they expired, the donations were packed into boxes, ready for distribution.

Polly Thayer, the coordinator of volunteers and food drives, said that more than 2,100 pounds of nonperishable items were collected and sorted that day.

She added that due to increased demand, these donations will last about one week.

The food pantry, now in its 38th year, currently provides food for 150 families – 425 people– each week. Clients shop the pantry for up to four bags of groceries per visit – meats, fruits and veggies, personal care items and nonperishable items.

“There’s been a huge increase since 2023,” she said.

The food pantry also accepts financial donations, which are used to purchase additional items. According to Thayer, about $11,000 is spent per month on food purchases, including $1,000 on eggs alone.

The food pantry has managed to keep up with the demand, thanks to its team of volunteers and many generous donors.

The next major event will be the annual letter carriers’ food drive on Mother’s Day weekend.

This summer, the farmers market will set up shop at Bay State Commons – right behind the food pantry. The market closes at 6 p.m., while the pantry is open for clients at the same time. Thayer hopes to send volunteers around the market booths to collect donations from vendors.

The market will also accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

In addition to the donations, the food pantry distributes vouchers to clients for use at the farmers market, Uhlman’s and South Street Diner.

Donations and volunteers are always welcome. For information on hours, how to volunteer and what to donate, visit https://westboroughfoodpantry.org/.

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