Church collecting donations for NRI Food Pantry

Church collecting donations for NRI Food Pantry

Wesley United Methodist members Lynne Lamarre and Valerie Valentine stand in front of a portion of the donations the church has been helping collect for the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – In an effort to help members of the community who are struggling to make ends meet and to put food on the table, members of a local church have stepped up to create a new food drive.

In just a few weeks, parishioners at Lincoln’s Wesley United Methodist Church have donated hundreds of nonperishable food items to the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry in Cumberland.

Lynne Lamarre said the idea to collect food for the local pantry came as she was donating food to the Lincoln Council of the Knights of Columbus last month. The Council has been collecting food every Friday since mid-March, when coronavirus shut down many local businesses and left thousands of people unemployed.

“As I was leaving, I thought: our church should get involved with something like this,” Lamarre said.

With support from the Rev. Beverly Stenmark and with help from fellow church members like Valerie Valentine, Lamarre began to reach out to local nonprofits they might partner with.

She said the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry was overjoyed to receive, “whatever we could give,” and that once the call for items was put out to the church community, donations began pouring in.

Chuck Marcotte, treasurer of the food bank, said it would be helpful if they focused on specific items. People are currently not allowed to enter the food pantry building to select items, and donations are instead sorted and put in evenly distributed boxes.

The pantry suggested pancake mix, which is difficult to order via wholesalers.

“I asked how many they need … they said 400 boxes,” Lamarre said. She again put out the call to the church community, and said people have been very supportive of the effort.

“Everyone has pitched in. We’re constantly getting more pancake mix boxes and syrup,” she said.

Every month, they will ask for a specific food item depending on the food pantry’s needs. For those interested in donating, a monitored collection box has been placed outside the doors of Wesley United Methodist Church at 55 Woodland St. to collect donations.

“We’re looking to spread our Christian values. We want to do whatever we can to help our neighbors,” Lamarre said. “The effort has definitely brought people together during this difficult time.”

Pancake mix and syrup is being collected until June 12.