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Families In Need Find Empty Shelves At Local Food Pantries

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Beth Germano Beth Germano
Emmy award-winning Beth Germano is a general assignment reporter fo...
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FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – A Framingham food pantry is feeling the summertime pinch, with people away on vacation and donations dropping off dramatically. “This shelf alone would be peanut butter, jelly and canned fruits like peaches,” said Joseph Miner who heads up the Pearl Street Cupboard & Café. But you can’t find the jelly and there’s only a few jars of peanut butter.

“August is here and now we’re seeing a decrease of food all over the place,” said Miner. They need both cash and food to feed this pantry and two others like it in Framingham and Marlborough.

The demand for food has increased sixfold since the Pearl Street pantry opened in January. At least six thousand pounds of food is given away each day with 472 families being helped each month.

Gloria LeBarre, who uses the services of the pantry has noticed some of her staples are harder to get. “They are low on funding and merchandise. Sometimes it’s not enough, or not what we’re looking for, so we take what they have,” she said.

Volunteer Patty Thistle says the mandate is never say no. “We give them what we can, we don’t turn anyone away,” she said. Miner makes two trips a week to the Greater Boston Food Bank, but still relies on donations to fill the other days of the week. “It is a large need and we want to meet it everyday. Sometimes it means cutting down on the amount of food they get,” he said.

Fifty pound bags of food are becoming ten pounds. And while the pasta, rice and macaroni and cheese boxes are the least expensive, they want to be able to provide eggs and vegetables for wholesome meals.

Miner says it’s the time of year when corporate donations are down, schools that often help are out of session, and others who might donate are taking summer vacations. For workers at the pantry it means working harder to fill the need. “We’re seeing more families coming in on a regular basis. We’re going to hit the 500 mark pretty soon,” said Miner.

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