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Stories from the Road – Partner Highlight

Good Shepherd Food Bank works in partnership with more than 500 hunger-relief organizations, located from Kittery to Fort Kent, to help distribute food to food insecure community members. Our network of partner agencies includes food pantries, meal sites, senior centers, school programs, and healthcare facilities.

For years, the Sangerville Food Cupboard has been a small project run by volunteers from the First Universalist Church of Sangerville and Dover-Foxcroft. At first, it consisted of a few shelves of canned goods in the church’s small kitchen. At that time, the administrative assistant was in the building twice a week, and a few locals, about eight or so, knew they could come in for a bit of food.

In April 2017, Barb Wilber had the idea to expand the food cupboard into an actual operation that would serve the local community of Sangerville. Wilber was a retired health RN and aware of the great need for food in Sangerville and the surrounding towns. After consulting with the council, she immediately recruited volunteers, making connections with surrounding food pantries, and potential donors. Then, the inaugural ‘Soupstock’ event was held in April 2018, which solely benefited the food pantry. Each year the pantry hosts this fundraising event, which has evolved from its roots in soup to ice cream and is now called ‘Scoopstock.’

The partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank started in 2019. The food pantry was headquartered upstairs in the vestry, with storage in the basement. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, in March 2020, the pantry had to end community access to the building and they made the switch to a pre-packed box distribution model.

On our visit to the pantry in November of 2021, we met with Bev Crockett and several of their 12 volunteers. The all-women group was full of energy and good spirits. They were busy as they briskly packed 40-45 boxes of food for Sangerville community members who would be visiting the pantry the next day. Crockett explained that along with the pre-packed boxes, they always liked giving pantry visitors something to choose from. In particular, on this day, there was a fresh array of local squash to select from.

During the visit, we had the chance to talk with Ellie, a volunteer at the pantry for around three to four years. She started to tear up talking about her experience working with the community and witnessing the impact of the food pantry. “This is vital. We are here,” she stated while explaining that no one should feel afraid to ask for help. Along with a few stories, she shared that each member of the community has had an impact on her. She shared about a time someone visited the pantry after losing their son on Christmas day. And then came back and donated apples and pears. She also mentioned that one visitor came every week and played the piano while they waited in line for their food.

The pantry is part of a community where they not only care for their neighbors but the neighbors also take care of them. Both Bev and Ellie shared with us that a local man stopped by on pantry distribution day this summer and asked how many volunteers were there. To their surprise, he left and came by later with a bag of frozen raspberries that he grew for each volunteer.

The Sangerville Food Pantry is open on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday from 9-11 a.m.

Good Shepherd Food Bank helps to feed people from every county in Maine. With our partner agencies spread throughout the entire state, there will likely be help close by if you need food. If you’re looking for help, or if you’re interested in donating food or volunteering at your local food pantry, please visit our Food Map to find a pantry near you.