BAR HARBOR—Dollar for dollar, Greg and Julie Veilleux, owners of Window Panes, matched donations collected at their store during the month of November. Last week, they presented a check for $2,000 to the Bar Harbor Food Pantry.
“We got a great response from the community,” said Julie Veilleux, who added that donations of cash and food were brought into the business from Oct. 31 through Nov. 30.
The business donated some of the food items before Thanksgiving and have “another big bucket of food to drop off” soon, she said.
The Bar Harbor Food Pantry can certainly use those donations, said Jenny Jones, executive director of the food pantry.
The organization has seen a 32 percent increase in need since March, serving, on average, roughly 500 households per week. Typically, the food pantry sees an increase in clients during the late winter months, but this year, said Jones, the need remained high even through the summer.
The sustained need has also busted the budget of the nonprofit, which planned for between $80,000 and $90,000 for food purchases this year.
“We are pushing $125,000 this year,” said Jones, and will budget between $125,000 and $150,000 for next year to meet the increased demand for services. “We know that long term the effects of this pandemic will be with us for a while—at least another year or two” and organizations such as hers, she said, are bracing for that reality statewide. “And locally we know that we will need to maintain this increase to the budget into the future.”
The best way to donate it to give cash. “Large donations are great, but even $5 helps,” said Jones. Five dollars turns into 20 meals when food is purchased through the Good Shepard Food Bank, she said, adding that the $2,000 donation from Window Panes is enough to buy a month’s worth of dry goods.
There are some instances, though, said Jones, where food items—especially those that are not available through Good Shepard—are welcome. Ground coffee and tea are high on that list, said Jones, as are mixed nuts and healthy snacks, along with chips and crackers.
The Bar Harbor Food Pantry is open by appointment on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clients can fill out a Google form and arrange a pickup time. The organization also hosts a “Fresh Food Friday” where people can receive fresh produce on a first–come, first–served basis.
For more information about the Bar Harbor Food Pantry, contact Jenny Jones at 288-3375 or at [email protected]