Monadnock Food Pantry

51 Concord Street

Monadnock Area Food Bank

In the spring of 1987, the Outreach Committee of All Saint's Parish determined that there was an increased need for emergency food assistance in the Monadnock area. Sudden unemployment, temporary inability to work, or limited fixed incomes among the elderly left too many residents without the means to satisfy even the most basic of human needs. 

The committee established the Monadnock Area Food Bank in the parish house to make donated emergency food supplies immediately available to people in need without requiring formal means testing or assessment. Other churches joined the project, making the effort an ecumenical undertaking. Without any government assistance, the Food Bank counts on donations of food and funds form local organizations and businesses as well as the churches.

A staff or volunteers operates the Food Bank, which is open Tuesdays and Satrday mornings in the basement of All Saint's parish house. Applicants come in, receive a listing of the food that is available that day, and make their selections. Then volunteers pack up a supply adequate for the family. "Sometimes after we pay our rent and electric bills, there is not much money left over for food. The Food Bank is a big help," declares one grateful applicant. "It is the Food Bank that keeps us going until we receive our allotment of food stamps," another observes.

During the first year of operation food was supplied to 230 families from ten towns in the area; in 1989, more than 600 requests have been filled, a sign of the difficult economic times in New England.

Mary and Thomas J. Murphy of Hancock began in 1987 to coordinate the activity of the many organizations involved, and continue their leadership of this effort. "Before we started, there were not supposed to be any needy families in Peterborough," Tom remembers. "Surprisingly, a good number of families fall between the cracks. Most recipients need only temporary help, but some now need ongoing support. There are new ones coming in as others leave. The need is very real."

SOURCE: Our Changing Town, Vol I,  pages 492-493.