DURHAM — When residents are in need, the Durham food pantry supplies individuals and families with essential food and toiletry items free of charge and completely confidential. However, as the winter months move closer, the food pantry relies on donations more and more.
According to Jaclyn Lehet, executive assistant to the First Selectman, “the pantry gets used every week by an average of two to three families.”
“For many residents, the pantry is used because they are in immediate need or it will help to get them through until other services can kick-in,” said Lehet. “The town accepts all Durham residents and gives them the chance to meet with the social services coordinator who will screen them for other town or state resources they may be eligible for.”
The USDA reported that last year, 13.9% of households with children experienced hunger. That number went up for single parent households and black and Hispanic households as well.
The pantry, located at 350 Main St., accepts all non-perishable food donations, toiletries and paper items. It also accepts monetary donations.
“Those donation funds provide financial assistance for rent, heat, disaster relief, medical bills, home repairs, and the food pantry,” said Lehet. “All monetary donations can be made to Durham Neighbors in Need.”
In order to help residents cope with the hardships of hunger and the approaching holiday season, the food pantry will also be supplying Thanksgiving baskets. But none of this would be possible without donations.
Doug Marden, who has been volunteering with the food pantry for the past eight years, says that volunteering and donating “helps people in need out in town.”
“It helps out a person in major need. We can help them in almost any way,” he said.
The food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays by appointment. Those looking to donate can drop off at the food pantry during these hours or drop off at Town Hall.