The Bethel Area Food Pantry will soon make food more easily available to those in need, according to organizers.
Starting in February, families can obtain food from the Food Pantry without an appointment. The pantry will be open on the second Monday of each month from noon until 8 p.m.
Anyone who needs food should come during those hours. People will receive a pre-packed box of staples, a bag of frozen meat and poultry along with fresh produce and fruit. This change will make food more accessible to more families in need.
“Currently families need to call me, set up an appointment, and then show up at a specific time. Once we transition, everyone will come on the same day,” organizer Dave Bean said last week.
The reorganization goes into effect Feb. 10. The Food Pantry is located in the basement of the Nazarene Church, 16 Church Street in Bethel by the side entrance on Park Street.
Additional volunteers and volunteer groups are needed to help with the new system.
Volunteers can help pack boxes of staples throughout the month. On the day the Food Pantry is open, volunteers can sign up families and put out the food boxes.
“Building out boxes can mean that school groups or families can come in and ,under my supervision, put together the boxes we will give away,” said Bean. “I can also use adult help giving away boxes on the second Mondayand getting fresh fruit and vegetables that morning.”
Volunteers may contact Bean at 824-0369 or at email@example.com.
Bean provided the following statistics on hunger in Maine: The state has the third highest rate of hunger of any state and the highest in New England; one in six Mainers are hungry; and one in four children live in a food-insecure home.
The Bethel pantry serves Albany, Andover, Bethel, East Bethel, West Bethel, Bryant Pond, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Locke’s Mills, Mason Township, Newry, Upton, and Woodstock.