Pandemic can’t shutter pantry

Pandemic can’t shutter pantry

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Local food pantries have increased safety measures during the pandemic, to make sure people stay fed and healthy, and the Plainville Community Food Pantry is no exception.

In a different time, the pantry’s doors would be wide open and low-income Plainville residents would come in and choose the products of their liking at no cost. However, the pantry suspended access to the building in an attempt to combat the spread of the virus.

Now, residents pick products from a menu and then call the pantry to leave their order as well as make a pick-up appointment.

By the time they arrive, staff brings the assembled carts to the parking lot where items can be conveniently loaded into a car. After each use, employees disinfect the carts. 

“It’s a whole different way we are doing everything now,” said Susie Woerz, the pantry’s executive director.

The pantry adheres to strict safe food handling practices that are now enhanced by regular temperature checks, increased cleaning frequency and additional hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building. Staff wears personal masks and gloves.

In 2019 the food pantry gave out 7,986 bags of groceries. Although this year the number of donations has declined, Woerz is confident that “there is no one in Plainville who should be going hungry” thanks to increased free meal distribution.

Plainville churches and traveling food trucks offer fresh produce while the school’s “Grab and Go” program ensures students have a balanced and nutritional diet.

“If there is anybody in Plainville who is in need of food or a holiday basket they can call us,” Woerz said. “We are here to help.”

Contribute if you can

Despite the pantry’s regular operation, Woerz is concerned about funds and food supplies. Due to the pandemic, major fundraisers such as Wings & Wheels and the annual golf classic have been cancelled and the Roaring ‘20s Hanger Party was rescheduled for next spring. 

At this time, the pantry is not accepting clothing donations but still welcomes monetary and food donations. Those who wish to donate food are asked to leave items in a bin outside, along with their name and an address, in order to receive a thank you card. 

“We are functioning, but it has been really, really hard to keep up with everything. We have not been able to do any food drives so we have less food coming in than before,” Woerz said. “It has been a challenge.”

Plainville residents are encouraged to contribute, when possible.

“I would tell people out there to always donate to your local food pantry because your junk can be someone else’s treasure,” said Danielle Davis, a Plainville resident who, prior to the pandemic, had donated clothes to the Plainville Community Food Pantry for the past five years.

“They don’t make profits off of your stuff, they give it to those in need. Organizations like that have purpose for our community and keep our town going for those in need.”

Another Plainville resident, Michael Parker, believes that hunger is a “challenge in both high-income and low-income countries” and that food banking “is a proven solution” to ensure people don’t go hungry.

Plainville’s food pantry is located at 54 S. Canal St. and can be reached at 860-747-1919. Those who wish to make a monetary donation can send a check to: P.O. Box 233. 54 South Canal St., Plainville, CT 06062.



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