LAWRENCE — Last Wednesday, close to 800 people went to St. Clair Food Pantry to supplement their weekly groceries.
"This was probably the third time in the last four years that we ran out of bread," said Ken Campbell, food coordinator for Lazarus House Ministries Food Pantry.
On Saturday, members of the Andover Rotary Club and The Eagle-Tribune are hosting a food drive at the Tribune's North Andover facility to help restock the shelves at the pantry.
"We really, really need the help," Campbell said. "These will be the food items that will be put on the shelves to be distributed the following week."
And a hurricane will not affect the food drive, as it will be humid during the day with rain coming in after 4 p.m.
This is the third time in two years the newspaper has held the food drive for Lazarus House, said publisher Al Getler.
"I think it's staggering," Getler said of the number of people lining up for food. "When we first did it, we didn't think it could get any worse."
The need for food is so great, the pantry is relying on week-to-week contributions to distribute to individuals and families, Campbell said. Families come on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and select from the shelves bags of rice, canned beans, frozen ravioli, yogurt as well as fresh corn, summer squash, tomatoes and peppers donated by three local farms.
The items collected at the food drives are also used at the Good Shepherd and Lazarus House Homeless shelter.
"What we need is food items that can be incorporated into many meals," Campbell said.
In addition to The Eagle-Tribune and Andover Rotary Club, Campbell said local companies, religious congregations, schools, and Boy and Girl Scout troops also host food drives for them.