With these tough economic times, come some tough desicions many families have to make, between putting food on the table or fire in the furnace.
For Framingham residents, there is some help. The St. Bridget Food Pantry, run by Executive Director Mary Kulas and her team of about 40 volunteers, has been assisting Framingham residents in need for more than 20 years.
"Many have been working at the pantry for years, which speaks to their great dedication. ... We are fortunate to have one volunteer who started at the beginning and still volunteers," she said.
Volunteers pick up, check and sort donated food, unload The Greater Boston Food Truck deliveries, and do bulk shopping. When the pantry is open for clients, volunteers stock food shelves, pack food bags, check in clients, hand out food bags and work with them to select foods.
Kulas said the pantry offers a "pre-packed bag of food staples as well as items that clients may select. This is meant to be supplemental food."
"We receive shipments of food twice a month from The Greater Boston Food Bank and regular donations from Trader Joe's, Sudbury Farms, two Starbucks, and Stearns Farm CSA. We also receive donations from individuals and organizations. But we still need to supplement our food inventory. So we make bulk purchases of some items, e.g. 200 boxes of cereal, 200 cans of vegetables, special items for the holidays and special items such as gluten-free products."
The Pantry has never turned anyone away, said Kulas.
Any Framingham resident, in need, is welcome to recieve food donations from the pantry. All that is needed is to "provide proof of address with a current bill or driver's license."
By the numbers:
* Serves approximately 140 families each week
* 5% increase in need this year (seniors in need on the rise)
* 300 loaves of bread per week
* 140 cans of soup per week
* 140 boxes of cereal per week
* 100 jars of Peanut butter per month
Ongoing Pantry needs:
- canned vegetables
- canned fruit
- juice boxes
- boxed macaroni and cheese
- canned chicken
- personal hygiene products (We especially appreciate receiving toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant)
Donated items must be new and unopened.
The pantry can not accept home-made food.
The pantry also offers meat, dairy, bread, pastries, fresh fruit and vegetables. Food must be fresh and must be labeled with ingredients.
Hours of operation: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., except on holidays and snow days.