EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 26, 2013

It's a lean time for N.H. food pantries

It's a tough time of year for food pantries

There’s a big red box between the doors at the Londonderry Market Basket. People walk by it every day without even glancing at it, but for many people the box is crucial.

“It’s one of our biggest sources for food,” said Annetta Steen, treasurer of the First Baptist Church Community Food Pantry in Derry. “Especially right now, because donations are terribly needed.”

Food collection boxes in grocery stores are one of the “603 Reasons” people say New Hampshire is special, but there is a need for more donations.

“We’ve seen an increase in distribution of about 6 percent,” said Nancy Mellitt, director of development for the New Hampshire Food Bank. “More people are in need of food.”

Steen said the response has been disappointing.

“We only fill about three or four bags a week at Market Basket,” she said. “At Shaw’s in Derry, it’s even less than that. But the need continues to be there. We’ve seen many more children this year than in years past. “

Fran Rosenau, who leads the St. Anne’s Ecumenical Food Pantry in Hampstead, said their supply is starting to dry up.

“This is our lowest point,” she said. “We’re really waiting for the holidays to start.”

David MacLean, spokesman for Market Basket, said the majority of their stores offer customers a chance to donate to a local pantry.

“Usually, when we enter a city or town, we’ll reach out to local pantries to set up a box,” he said. “Many organizations choose to take advantage of it,”

Eric Bloom, spokesman for Hannaford, said he was unsure how many stores offer permanent collection boxes. But they do offer an alternative.

“Starting in November, we have ‘Hannaford Fights Hunger,’” he said. “It allows people to buy boxes of food to donate to pantries. Individual stores will have a kiosk where people can make cash donations to a variety of different charities.”

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