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Letter to the Editor: Mansfield Daily Bread Food Pantry Celebrates 15 Years

The following was submitted by Julie Cline.

Dear Mansfield Residents:
During this season of giving and receiving, all of us at Our Daily Bread: Friends Sharing and Caring want to offer our thanks to the Mansfield community.
This year marks the food pantry’s 15th year of operations. Someday, we hope to shut our doors because our services are no longer needed, but until that day comes we will continue to supply food staples to our fellow residents in need. And we’ve been able to do this for 15 years because of you -- support from local businesses, corporations, community organizations, churches, schools and individuals.
There are too many organizations and individuals who give and help throughout the year to be listed here. But know that every single one of your contributions are much appreciated. Because without you, there would be no Our Daily Bread food pantry. We couldn’t exist without your help.
Fifteen years ago, we started off small, serving just a few families a week as a community outreach project of the Congregational Church of Mansfield. But demand for the pantry’s services quickly increased and within a few years, we expanded into our current building.
During the past few years of economic and unemployment struggles, the pantry has averaged 100 households coming each Saturday morning to ‘shop.’ This past year alone, more than 460 families took home more than 18,000 bags of groceries.
The contents of those 18,000 bags of groceries came from the Greater Boston Food Bank, local grocery stores such as Stop and Shop, Shaw’s, Hannafords and Trader Joe’s. Cash donations raised from events such as the Mother’s Club “Shop till You Drop” event and the Tri-Town Chamber’s annual Octoberfest food tasting and donations made during our annual campaign helped pay for those purchases. More food came from food drives held at the schools, churches and donations dropped off by individuals.
Weekly, volunteers came in to unpack, shelve and rotate food items. Weekly, teens and youths came in to prepack grocery bags for individuals who could not shop. Weekly, volunteers showed up on Saturday mornings to help bag groceries and carry the bags to clients’ cars.
Weekly, clients would wait patiently for their turn to shop during Saturday morning distribution. Weekly, clients would thank volunteers and donors. And weekly, clients and volunteers together would talk, laugh and share local news. Because we are all part of the Mansfield community.
This year, the pantry got its very own website, underwritten by the Mansfield Bank Charitable Foundation. Go to www.mansfieldfoodpantry.org for information on our services, needed food items and to become a volunteer. We thank you for supporting us another year.
The Our Daily Bread Steering Committee,

Otto Bingel, Lynn Birch, Debbie Chambers, Julie Cline, Daniel Conrad, Kristine Copley, Kathleen Deely, Barbara Emmerth, Eric Greenberg, Kim Hoy, Lucy Kelliher, Dick Kelsay, Barbara Mulligan, Lisa Nolan, Lisa Renzi, Nikki Sawayer, Maria Smith, Linda Sohn

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