On a warm summer day in July, we traveled south to visit the Saco Food Pantry, nestled in the charming town of Saco, Maine. As we stepped inside, we were immediately struck by the sense of community and dedication that filled the space. The Saco Food Pantry stands as a shining example of neighbors coming together to make a difference, as it is run entirely by volunteers who pour their hearts into helping neighbors experiencing hunger.
Our guide for the day was Sheldon Nightingale, a kind-hearted soul who not only volunteers his time daily to the food pantry but is also on the board of directors. Sheldon’s commitment to giving back to his community is evident as he shared his journey into volunteering. Originally from Bucksport, he ventured to Virginia for four years before joining the Navy. Afterward, he settled in Connecticut, where he met his wife, a fellow Mainer. Together, they made the decision to retire in Maine, and Sheldon found a sense of purpose by dedicating his time to the Saco Food Pantry. Alongside volunteering at Age Friendly Saco, Sheldon spends an impressive 20 hours each week at the food pantry, leading volunteers, connecting with Saco neighbors visiting the pantry, and harnessing relationships with farmers, partners like Good Shepherd Food Bank and retailers in the area.