Food pantry in Portsmouth: Don't forget about us!

Donations of fresh produce are sought along with the usual items

By Jim McGaw
Posted 7/29/21

PORTSMOUTH — Do you keep a garden at home but have an excess of cucumbers, tomatoes and squash that you don’t know what to do with?

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Food pantry in Portsmouth: Don't forget about us!

Donations of fresh produce are sought along with the usual items

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Do you keep a garden at home but have an excess of cucumbers, tomatoes and squash that you don’t know what to do with?

Don’t let them go to waste. Consider donating them to the St. John Lodge Food Pantry on Sprague Street, which is celebrating its first year in operation.

Volunteers say fresh produce — along with the usual items the food bank regularly receives — is in great demand.

Rosemary Buckley, who volunteers at the pantry on Fridays, said some residents may be under the impression that the food bank accepts only non-perishable or canned items. That’s not the case.

“There should be a lot of fresh vegetables becoming available now,” said Ms. Buckley, who urges anyone tending to a garden to donate any excess produce. “We have people who donate eggs when they have extra eggs, and we really like to put in the fresh vegetables. They do have refrigeration, but what we get usually goes pretty quickly.”

Volunteers became concerned when a local woman, in a recent news article, said she donates excess vegetables from her garden to a pantry in Newport. 

“What about us?” Ms. Buckley said volunteers wondered.

“We were not getting as much as we used to,” she said, adding that it wasn’t only fresh produce donations that were down. “For some reason, the boxes of pasta and cans of beans and soup — those things seemed to be dwindling.”

To find out what the pantry’s ongoing needs are, check the St John Lodge Food Pantry Facebook page, where Ann Rocha Pierce posts regular updates.

Here are some of the items the pantry was seeking most this week: pasta sauce; small jars of peanut butter; cereal; canned vegetables such as corn, carrots, peas, and green beans; jelly; canned chicken; tea; dry pasta; canned fruit; and juice boxes for children.

“It varies week to week. Ann usually puts it on a weekly basis,” Ms. Buckley said. “It’s an amazing operation. The people who run it blow my mind every week.”

Donations may be dropped off at the food pantry, located at St. John's Lodge No. 1, 81 Sprague St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays; and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the last Sunday of the month.

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