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United Parish Food Pantry Sees Increase in Need

Just like so many food pantries across the country, the United Parish's food pantry has seen an increase in the number of individuals and families who are in need of its services.

"We see 12 to 15 clients a week," said Food Pantry Coordinator Amy Griswold. "It's picking up again."

According to an article in The Boston Globe regarding a 2009 survey of food banks in Massachusetts, 80 percent of those food recipients are living in homes without consistent access to food; up from 68 percent in 2006.

According to Griswold, United Parish gave out 40 bags of food the week prior, and although that sounds like a large amount, in reality it's not. "It's just enough to keep them (the clients) going," she said.

In addition to Griswold, Nancy Gelineau also volunteers her time as a Food Pantry Coordinator.

Both ladies count on several local organizations to hold food drives in order to continue giving to those in need, including the Upton Men's Club, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the 4-H Club, and Nipmuc Regional High School.

Griswold noted that members of United Parish are also largely responsible for continuous donations. "We have a very generous church community," she said.

Although these organizations continue to donate to the Food Pantry, additional donations are always needed. The needed items include any nonperishable food items, which are foods that can be stored for long periods of time without spoiling and do not need to be refrigerated. It's important to check expiration dates prior to donating. In addition, the Food Pantry is in need of paper goods, as well as soaps, shampoos, and hand sanitizers. Financial donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to United Parish but directed to the Food Pantry in the memo line of the check.

Currently Griswold and Gelineau are busy gearing up for the holidays and putting together dinner baskets which will include turkeys with all the fixings plus dessert. This year, 21 baskets were requested. "That's an all time high for us," said Griswold.

United Parish's Food Pantry is open every Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and is located in the Vestry room of the church. The Food Pantry is available to Upton residents in need, as well as those from surrounding communities. Clients do not have to be members of United Parish. New clients will be requested to fill out a general form prior to receiving donations. The United Parish is located at One Central Square at the corner of Church and Main Streets.


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