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Damien’s Food Pantry to move to new location

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 2

Damien’s Food Pantry has distributed 900,000 pounds of food in 2021 and hopes to surpass that number in 2023 at its new proposed location at 242 Marion Road.

Damian’s Food Pantry has been serving the Wareham and New Bedford area for 30 years. The Pantry typically serves 250 guests a week, said Pauline Lally, executive director of The Pantry.

But Larry said he hopes the new building will allow Damian’s Food Pantry to expand its reach.

Minimal street signs, limited warehouse and shelf space are just a few of the problems posed by Damian’s Food Pantry’s current location at 3065 Cranberry Hwy.

“We have limited space here,” says development lead Rhonda Veugen.

Veugen explained that Damien’s has seen an increase in overnight guests since the Covid-19 pandemic due to increased food insecurity and rising inflation.

“The need will never go away,” she said. “It just keeps growing.”

Since March 2021, Veugen has been working with Damien’s Food Pantry and the Capital Campaign Steering Committee to develop plans to find new pantry locations.

“I jumped at the chance to help them with a capital campaign,” said Veugen. “We knew this capital campaign would help shine a light on this amazing organization.”

According to Veugen, the growth opportunity was realized after Damien’s received a donation of 2.48 acres of land from William Decas, Catherine Decas and John C. Decas at 242 Marion Road.

The Decas family “thought it was a great idea to donate to a cause like this,” Larry said.

Campaign “Quiet Campaign” – Created by the Commission to receive small donations, since September has raised $700,000 of the $1.4 million needed to construct the new building.

According to Veugen, the new building will not only offer spacious working conditions for volunteers, additional storage for donations, and a community garden, but also the opportunity for guests to choose to donate food.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers have adopted a “grab-and-go” method for guests, according to Lally, who receive pre-packaged merchandise.

Despite the lifting of social distancing restrictions, guests are limited in their food choices due to limited shelf space at their current location.

Veugen and Lally hope the new space will have enough space for guests to shop while choosing their donations.

“We want to give people the dignity they deserve by giving them food choices when they are going through a difficult time,” said Veugen.

The new space will also enable Damian’s Food Pantry to partner with local organizations to offer comprehensive programs such as financial literacy classes.

“Our goal is to start operations at the new location by the winter of 2023,” says Veugen.

To contribute, visit https://damiensfoodpantry.org/capital-campaign/ and call 508-295-3486 to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

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