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Northfield food pantry to reopen Saturday

Submitted Photo; The Northfield Food Pantry will open to Northfield residents Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Submitted Photo; The Northfield Food Pantry will open to Northfield residents Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

NORTHFIELD — The local food pantry will reopen Saturday, after being without a home for two years.

The Northfield Food Pantry will open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in the basement of the Dickinson Memorial Library. For the time being, it will only be available to Northfield residents, and open on the second Saturday of every month.

“The reopening has been long in the making,” said pantry manager Caty Kostecki. “So far, the community has been really generous, and we’ve been able to stock quite a few items.”

As time goes on and the pantry assesses the local need, a second day may be added, she said.

Kostecki came on board in April. At the time, renovations had already begun in the small space in the library.

It’s been a community-wide effort, with a laundry list of renovations including re-wiring, masonry repairs, new paint and exit signs, and more.

The First Parish Church made the pantry its mission, donating much-needed startup money. A $1,000 grant from the Northfield Kiwanis furthered the project, and volunteers from town, as well as crews from the Franklin County Technical School and the Franklin County Jail, set to work on the basement room.

Their efforts paid off, and the space passed inspection from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

The partnership with the food bank allows the pantry to maximize monetary donations, buying food from the organization at a fraction of its retail price.

Though recipients of food bank goods must meet income requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, any food or nonfood goods donated directly to the pantry are open to anyone.

“People who look good on paper can still be struggling,” said Kostecki. “Though they may not necessarily meet USDA guidelines, if they’ve fallen on hard times, they can access donated items.”

In these tough economic times, she said, sometimes all it takes is an unexpected expense like a car repair to break someone’s budget. When that happens, the Northfield Food Pantry is there to lend a helping hand.

“Something like a big car repair bill can eat into your food budget,” said Kostecki.

The pantry lost its former home, a building on property owned by the Northfield Mount Hermon School, in August of 2011. The building had fallen into disrepair, and NMH worried that it was not fit for use.

Though it’s got a home now, the food pantry will still need volunteers and donations.

The small space in the library can’t accommodate a fridge or freezer for cold storage, so only nonperishable foods may be accepted at the moment. The pantry also seeks non-food items, like dish soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and other household goods.

If you’ve got a few things to donate, you can place them in the donation bin at the library. To arrange pickup for larger donations, or to volunteer your time, call Kostecki at (413) 498-5780, or email nfld.food.pantry@gmail.com.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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