By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Wellesley Food Pantry is an important organization that serves the community members throughout the year.
A few weeks ago, the food pantry held its biggest food drive of the year, which set them up well for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.
“[The food drive] is our largest food intake of the year,” explained Wellesley Food Pantry President Peter Lull. “At this time, we have nine tons of food … It’s a huge help to get us through the holiday season and into the winter.”
In addition to their own food drives, the food pantry has received help from a bunch of other groups, such as churches, schools, and other organizations in town.
“There are a lot of other organizations and groups that want to support us through the holidays,” he said. “Thanksgiving, in particular, brings out a lot of effort, so we did get a lot of food drives [from other groups].”
For example, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church baked an apple pie and the Schofield Elementary School and Ten Acre School each made a type of bread.
“It’s amazing the support we receive from the town, and we are appreciative of it because it makes our job a lot easier when people donate food items,” Lull said. “Food drives are wonderful because it saves us from having to do the shopping [and] we also have a great variety of goods.”
A couple of the food pantry’s tasks involve sorting out the different types of food and managing the inventory. For the latest food drive, they had around 200 people who volunteered for the event.
“It was a terrific showing,” Lull said. “Every year we need that, because we bring in so many goods.”
At a typical time, the food pantry has around 30 to 40 volunteers, but it fluctuates from week to week. It is open on Monday mornings when they sort the donations, and it is open on Tuesday mornings when they are open for clients to shop for food. Overall, they have around 400 clients who shop at the food pantry.
“We are a supplementary food resource,” Lull said. “We are not a daily [organization] … The clients come as needed to stretch their resources to meet their needs.”
Although the food pantry did not have a specific Thanksgiving event this year, Lull said that they always receive more Thanksgiving foods at this time of year.
“There are certain [foods] that may be on people’s minds [when they] donate, like stuffing or pumpkin,” he said.
The food pantry’s goal is to serve the community, and Lull explained why the organization is so important to Wellesley.
“It’s a need that people often don’t recognize,” he said. “It’s very important that we are available to give [the people] healthy, nutritious food options and make sure that they are getting what they need without having to make difficult choices.”
“A third of our clients are seniors,” he added. “You don’t want them skipping medication or not being able to pay another bill because they have to buy food, so it’s important that we are there for them as a resource.”
Although the food pantry is important year-round, Lull explained that it is especially important at a time of the year like Thanksgiving.
“Obviously, there is an increased focus on food and fellowship and bringing people together [during Thanksgiving] … Having the pantry … meet those needs so they can have that enjoyment hopefully takes some of the stress off them … They know they too can have food and enjoy the celebration.”
“We don’t want anyone to feel marginalized or feel like they can’t enjoy the holiday season,” Lull added. “We are grateful for how the community has stepped up.”