The Franklin Food Pantry (FFP) has announced new initiatives to expand its services to existing and new clients. Firstly, The Food Pantry is in a position to test drive the mobile food pantry program this year. Beginning this month the FFP truck will become a mobile pantry, providing assistance to neighbors in the community who are unable to visit The Food Pantry’s downtown location due to obstacles such as transportation, childcare and medical reasons. Eligible members of the community will have the opportunity to pick up staples such as canned vegetables, fruits, beans, and soups; peanut butter, tuna fish, pasta, cereal, and beverages. Some non-food items may be offered as well including toiletries, household cleaning supplies and occasional pet products. Meat, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables, breads and bakery items will be on the truck whenever available.
The FFP Mobile Pantry will visit three locations as part of its pilot program on the following schedule:
- Franklin Housing Authority, 1000 Central Park Terrace on the 2nd Monday of every month from 2:30-3:30 p.m. serving residents of the Franklin Housing Authority at Central Park Terrace, North Park, East Park, or West Park Streets.
- Franklin Housing Authority, 45 Winter Street on the 3rd Monday of every month from 2:30-3:30 p.m. serving residents 45 Winter Street; and
- Franklin Senior Center, 10 Daniel McCahill Street on the 4th Monday of every month from 2:30-3:30 p.m. serving those affiliated with the Franklin Senior Center.
Linda Sottile, Director of Operations for Franklin Food Pantry stated, “We expect to serve
an additional 40+ households in the next six months and hope to have additional locations on the
schedule by the end of the year.”
The Pantry also welcomes back the Healthy Futures Fresh Produce Market this summer. Running June
|Healthy Futures Franklin|
through October, the market will be open every Tuesday from 4:00-5:00pm. Clients can visit the downtown Franklin Food Pantry location at 43 West Central Street to pick up quality fruits and vegetables from our local farms and community garden partners. And, every 2nd Tuesday of the month, the Healthy Futures Market will present cooking demonstrations and food samplings from culinary experts of Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters® program.
Cooking Matters is a series of educational workshops offered in a fun, casual setting. The Cooking Matters staff will prepare simple, delicious dishes using seasonal produce and on-hand pantry staples. Guests will receive nutritional tips and recipe cards to help make these farm to table meals at home. The summer workshops are made possible by a grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation and fresh produce received from Akin Bak Farm, Hoffmann Farm, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School community gardens and Franklin Community Gardens.
Michelle Camiel, Eastern Massachusetts Manager for Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters commented, “Cooking Matters is thrilled to be partnering with local farms, New England Chapel and the Food Pantry. It’s wonderful to collaborate with partners who are just as committed to bringing food skills education to families who need it as we are. We are looking forward to the Tuesday workshops at the pantry this summer!” Erin Lynch, Director of Development for Franklin Food Pantry shared, “The Cooking Matters educational classes are presented in a casual, cooperative and fun setting and have been very successful here. We have seen waiting lists of twenty or more families for these classes so we are excited to offer a summer series under the tent to accommodate larger numbers.”
Increased availability of nutritious food comes at a critical time for those who are reliant on The Food Pantry. For many families, when school closes for the summer, food insecurity rises. While at school, children in need receive lunch daily through state funded programs, but when the bell rings for the summer months, a steady diet can become compromised. Added Lynch, “It is important to serve our clients consistently throughout the year. The Greater Boston Food Bank recognizes the need for creative solutions to these challenges, and recently awarded our pantry a $2,500 grant for capacity building initiatives. The Mobile Pantry and Healthy Futures programs engage a collaboration of resources to provide additional reach to our community. Thank you to our sponsors, partner organizations, and our incredible core of volunteers who make these programs happen. “
To this end, volunteers are still needed for a variety of duties for both programs. Adults and students are welcome for several assignments. Some of the jobs include adult licensed drivers, loading and unloading the truck, set-up, inventory, assisting clients with shopping, and more. To get involved, please contact our Volunteer Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Healthy Futures Franklin
|Mass in Motion|
Healthy Futures Franklin is part of Mass in Motion (MIM). MIM is a statewide movement that promotes opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places people live, learn, work and play. Marissa Garofano, Director of Community Wellness and the Healthy Futures Initiative for The Y, commented: “The Healthy Futures Initiative is committed to reduce inactivity and poor nutrition in the fifteen communities the Hockomock Area YMCA serves through programs, projects, and policies. The Healthy Futures Fresh Produce Market at The Pantry is an extension of our efforts to provide nutritional advocacy and access to fresh fruits and produce.” About Cooking Matters® Cooking Matters® is key to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. Learn more at NoKidHungry.org. For nutritious recipes and more information about Cooking Matters®, please check out the website at ma.cookingmatters.org.
About The Franklin Food Pantry
Established in 1987, the mission of the Franklin Food Pantry is to provide immediate hunger relief and healthy sustainable solutions, by empowering the community through resources, education and collaboration. It is part of the Greater Boston Food Bank network and depends entirely on support and donations from volunteers, corporate partners and the community at large. The Franklin Food Pantry is located at 43 West Central Street, Route 140 and can accept donations during business hours, Tuesday – Friday, 9am -1pm. Non-perishables may also be dropped off after hours in the bin by the front door, or monetary donations may be mailed to Franklin Food Pantry, PO Box 116, Franklin MA 02038. For more information, visit franklinfoodpantry.org, like the pantry’s page on Facebook, or call 508-528-3115. The Franklin Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization FEIN # 04-3272663.