FARMINGTON – In a tough economic climate, with cold weather fast approaching, several individuals and agencies are taking steps to ensure that local families don’t go hungry this winter.
In the Franklin County Courthouse, for instance, Sylvia Yeaton has started a program to gather nonperishable goods in collection boxes and then deliver them to local food pantries at the end of each month.
A former school teacher and current special projects director in the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, Yeaton is often involved in local food drives, assistance awareness programs and other community work. She said that talking with directors of local food pantries had shown her that there would be a need for additional supplies this winter.
“I’ve visited a few,” Yeaton said, “they’ve already seen an increase in the number of people coming in. I decided that the courthouse could help people out.”
Two boxes will be available, one in the basement and one on the first floor. The courthouse is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and nonperishable goods can be dropped off then. At the end of each month, Yeaton and few other volunteers will share the food out among local food banks.
Yeaton will also be helping out at the Mallett School food drive this Friday. Every year, students bring canned goods into class and help transport them down to the community center.
“That’s how we’re going to have to get through this,” Yeaton said, “neighbors helping neighbors.”
Meanwhile, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its 2008 Holiday Food Drive, an annual event. Last year, Executive Director Lorna Nichols set and reached a donation goal of 25 holiday baskets. This year, she’s hoping to double that.
“These really aren’t just holiday baskets,” she explained, “that is, they don’t just have the turkey and stuffing. We’re trying to include two weeks of groceries for each family.”
This year’s baskets will contain even more healthy “everyday” food, like fresh fruit, peanut butter, bread and macaroni and cheese.
Donations of money or food (a list of preferred food donations can be found near the end of this article) can be dropped off at Key Bank, in downtown Wilton, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, in Farmington, Camden National Bank, in Farmington, Western Mountain Chiropractic & Sports Injury, in the Narrow Gauge Square in Farmington, and CSM Real Estate, in Kingfield. All of these businesses have acted as collection points before, except for Western Mountain Chiropractic, which Nichols said called her this year and asked how they could help.
“We’ve put the challenge out for 50 baskets this year,” she said. “We’ve already off to a great start.”
Donations must be in by Dec. 15, to give the Chamber time to wrap and prepare the baskets for delivery. Those living anywhere in Franklin County and interested in receiving a basket can stop by the Chamber’s office, or call Nichols at 778-4215.
A cash donation of $25 will buy a Franklin County family a food basket or, in lieu of cash donations, the Chamber asks that the following foods be donated:
• 1 Frozen Turkey or 3-5 lb. Canned Ham
• 2 boxes of stuffing – any flavor
• 2 cans of gravy
• 1 – 1 lb. bag of carrots
• 2 cans of cranberry jelly
• 1 – 5 lb. bag of potatoes
• 2 cans of peas
• 2 cans of green beans
• 2 cans of corn
• 1 – 1 lb. bag of rice
• 1 jar of peanut butter
• 1 jar of jelly
• 1 pkg. brown’n serve rolls
• 1 pumpkin pie
• 1 8oz. or larger container of cool whip
• 1 loaf of bread
• 1 jar of marshmallow fluff
• 1 box of cereal (non-sweetened please)
• 1 bag of oranges
• 1 bag of apples
• 2 cans of tuna
• 1 family size can of tomato or chicken noodle soup
• 1 jar or can of spaghetti sauce
• 1 box of brownie mix
• 1 – 5 lb. bag of white sugar
• 1 – 5 lb. bag of all purpose flour
• 1 box of hot chocolate
• 2 cans of spaghettios or similar
• 1 jar of sweet mixed pickles
•1 holiday box of candy canes