Monroe Food Pantry needs donations as unemployment rises

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The Monroe Food Pantry operates out of an old house at 980 Monroe Turnpike.

MONROE, CT —As more people lose their jobs amid the global coronavirus pandemic, demand at the Monroe Food Pantry has been on the rise. It currently assists over 200 families.

“There is an increase,” Henna Ali, director of community and social services, said of demand. “It’s not a huge increase right now, but it’s there and it may grow as people are out of work longer.”

“I do expect an increase,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said. “We have been fortunate that donations have been keeping up.”

Ali said the Monroe Food Pantry is gearing up for Easter, which will have heavy weeks of client appointments.

“Anytime there is a holiday, you see an increase of people needing food,” she said. “It’s hard to get our bulk orders, because supermarkets are having difficulty filling the orders. Their distribution sites are filling as much as they can.”

The pantry recently posted a list of items it needs to serve its clients on Facebook. Among the donations pantry staff hopes to stock their shelves with are canned fruit, vegetables, meat and pasta.

“Any donation would be greatly appreciated, but definitely in-kind food donations,” Ali said. “A specific list was put out.”

Cleaning products, which are currently difficult to come by, are also needed. Ali said donations have come in since the Monroe Food Pantry’s Facebook post.

The pantry has enough volunteers right now, and Ali said they are grateful to those who have reached out offering to help.

A positive force

Ali said food pantry clients are expected to schedule and keep their appointments, adding they should call if they need home deliveries or to reschedule. To avoid overcrowding inside the building at 980 Monroe Turnpike, clients are asked to fill out a form indicating the food options they like or need.

A volunteer or staff member will greet them outside and take their list, before coming back and putting the groceries in their car for them.

As another precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, volunteers and staff members immediately wash their hands upon arriving at the pantry. Then they wear gloves, while stocking shelves and shopping for clients, according to Ali.

“I think everybody’s a little nervous,” she said. “People have been very understanding. I think this is showing how people are helping out in any way they can. Everybody is being as positive as they can. You just see a positive force of people coming out.”

To apply for assistance, call either the Monroe Food Pantry, the Social Services Department or call Ali directly at the Monroe Senior Center.

The list

The following is a copy of the Monroe Food Pantry Facebook post asking for donations:

We are in the process of preparing for our three heaviest weeks of client appointments and looking for the following items: Unfortunately, the local grocery stores are having difficulty filling our bulk orders, so we would greatly appreciate ANY AND ALL in-kind food donations you can provide.

-canned fruit – mandarin oranges, peaches, pineapple
-canned vegetables – low sodium corn, carrots, beets, Sauerkraut, spinach
-canned beans – low sodium black beans, cannellini, pinto, chickpeas, and kidney beans, refried beans
-baked beans – pork baked beans, chili with beans, chili without beans, vegetarian chili
– canned pasta – Beefaroni, Beef Ravioli, Spaghetti O’s
– canned meat – solid white tuna in water, chicken
– jarred pasta sauce – regular and low sodium
-broth – vegetable, chicken, beef
– canned tomatoes – (regular and low sodium) tomato puree, diced, crushed, whole, paste
– pasta – egg noodles, elbows, linguine, etc.
– Ramen – beef, shrimp
– baking supplies – bread crumbs, brownie and cake mix, flour, sugar, pancake mix
– packaged meals – Hamburger Helper, Knorr pasta and rice sides, Pasta-roni, Rice-a-roni
– salad dressing – balsamic. blue cheese, French, Italian, ranch
– condiments – ketchup, mayo, yellow mustard, pancake syrup, sugar free pancake syrup
– crunchy peanut butter
– strawberry preserves/jelly
– ground coffee – regular, decaf
– raisins
– HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS
– LAUNDRY DETERGENT
-paper towels

Thank you for your continued support! Every little bit helps.

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