Cupboards becoming bare at food pantry

NASHUA – This is the inventory at the Corpus Christi Food Pantry: eight cans of meat, a few cans of soup and vegetables, some jars of peanut butter and jelly, some boxes of pasta, and no rice.

That’s not close to enough food to provide meals for a week for the 35 people expected at the 43 Franklin St. address today from 2:45-5 p.m.

It’s a distressing situation with a simple solution: Find as many donors as possible, give them a list, and welcome them with open arms when they arrive on the doorstep bearing groceries.

It’s also a situation more familiar to other food pantries in the city.

“Corpus Christi is usually the one that doesn’t run out, but this time, we’ve run out,” said Kay Golden, pantry director. “We need canned meat, rice, sugar.”

Earlier in the month, the Salvation Army food pantry reported dire shortages, as did the Nashua Pastoral Care Center and the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. Agency spokespersons said the shortfall was seasonal: From July through October, donations dwindle, typically picking up in November when school and church drives begin a steady flow that culminates in a flood of giving through the Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

But Corpus Christi, which is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:45-5 p.m., is a little too early for the holiday rush.

Try explaining that, however, to the estimated 1500 adults and children it feeds monthly. When a family of four requests assistance, it is accustomed to receiving six grocery bags full of food – enough to get them through a week without food stamps.

Many who need food receive food stamps but run short at the end of the month. Many are working, but don’t earn enough to pay for housing, food, and medicine. Some are unable to hold a job.

Most have young children.

“We need everything. It’s bare back there,” Golden said during a telephone interview Monday.

She said she was hoping for donations of canned meat, as well as snacks for children, hot and cold cereals, cookies, hot chocolate, and bread.

“We go for the basic necessities,” said Golden, adding that soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and deodorant are also on her list, as are new birthday gifts for children of all ages, another item the pantry distributes.

Golden said each client who visits the pantry receives a list of available foods and is asked to place an order based on family or individual preferences. Anyone who seeks help is welcome.

Assistance does not depend on religious affiliation.

What the pantry does require is community support. A joint effort of the city’s Catholic parishes, Corpus Christi could not function without donations, Golden said.

“Without so many people, we wouldn’t do what we’re able to do,” she said.