Local Food Pantries in Need of Donations

The Derry food pantries are seeing increased need for food and their supplies are lower than usual, making it difficult to meet the demand. And to make things worse, the school food drives that play such an important role in all the food pantry efforts have not begun yet.

The First Baptist Church Food Pantry has bare shelves, and Annetta Steen is worried.
“This is as low as our supplies have been recently,” she said. “It always takes time to recover from the summer, and the school food drives haven’t begun yet. We need almost everything. We had 60 families the first week in October, and that’s about double what we usually see.”
Her list of needs starts with fresh fruit and fresh vegetables and then continues on to canned vegetables and canned meats, peanut butter, baked beans and beans and pork, soups, pasta, rice and just about anything else, she said.
The First Baptist Church Food Pantry, 4 Crystal Ave., is open Tuesdays between 3:30 and 5 p.m. on the first and last Thursdays of the month, and all other Thursdays between 9:30 a.m. and noon. Anyone is welcome once per month with proof of Derry or Londonderry residency. For more information, call the church at 432-3482.
St. Thomas Aquinas Food Pantry, located in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas Church at 26 Crystal Ave., also has an extensive list of items it needs. Among those items are: hot and cold cereals; Hamburger Helper; Chicken or Tuna Helper; instant potatoes; canned vegetables; canned meats such as Spam, corned beef, chicken, beef, pork and ham; dry split peas; baked beans; black beans; canned beef or chicken stews; chili (with and without beans); sugar; flour; oil; pancake mix and syrup; instant dry milk; pizza sauces; baby wipes; diaper rash products; shampoos and washes; toilet paper; shaving cream; razors; and laundry and dish detergents.
St. Thomas Food Pantry hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The food pantry is closed on holidays. Donations of non-perishable food and monetary gifts are always welcome. More information is available from the church at 432-5000.
Sonshine Soup Kitchen Executive Director Cynthia Dwyer said her food supply is still coming in but the organization in August ran at a six-figure deficit and that has her worried.
Sonshine is a non-profit corporation under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Based in Derry, it has been serving meals at its current location, the First Baptist Church at the corner of Broadway (Route 102) and Crystal Avenue, since 1989. Its office is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and free hot meals are served Mondays through Fridays at 4:30 p.m.
More information about Sonshine is available at 437-2833.
For anyone in need of food at other times, visit www.derry.nh.us and click to Departments and to Human Services, and scroll to Immediate Food Need for a list of food assistance in the area.