Charity Fund

Charity Fund


Council: 13861 - SANFORD

Project Description:

Mark Bourgoin Worthy State Deputy
Subject: Maine State Council Charity Fund Program nomination

The Food Closet had its humble beginnings in the St. Therese of Lisieux Parish office August 2016 spearheaded by Greg Semo, a St. Thomas Knights and one parish volunteer. Their mission was to disperse emergency food supplies to those in need in our community. The intention was that families/individuals receive not only food for their physical hunger, but generous portions of kindness and grace to feed their spiritual and emotional hungers. The Food Closet is, open every Thursday from 12:30 to 2:00 pm.

Two more volunteers arrived in December and a volunteer came on board to organize it April 2017. Until then the Food Closet operated on parishioners’ food and cash donations and would feed approx. 100 people each week. Unfortunately, the program was not self- sustaining and food would run out before closing time, resulting in only be open every two weeks.

Volunteers were recruited and what started as 2 people has now grown to 20, two of whom are Knights. Through the Good Shepherd Food Bank and the Federal Dept of Agriculture (USDA) programs they receive free or inexpensive food delivered locally. The monthly allocation is 1300 pounds of canned goods and frozen meat. This government food as well as parish/knight’s food donations of about 50 canned goods a week allowed them to provide 90% of food they needed to feed approximately 150 to 200 people each week, but were spending $50 weekly to purchase milk and basic protein items. St. Thomas Council 3rd Degree and W. Robert Bachelder 4th Degree Assembly #357 donated grocery store gift cards averaging $85 a week used to purchase the other 10% Needed.

For logistical reasons, the food closet just relocated to a new location. They do not get any monetary assistance from St. Therese of Lisieux Parish, but the parish does provide the building and utilities needed to operate.

They track the number of new people who come for food weekly. Before moving, they would get 1 or 2 new people. After only three weeks at the new location, that number is 23 new people (feeding a total of 46 new family members). Serving the additional number of new people, they are now on track to feed 300 or more people, many homeless and destitute each week. Once again, inventory is running low to the point of needing to purchase even more food each week, which likely will require $100 or more spent weekly not bi-weekly.

They had several large donations at inception, of which they still have $6000 in savings after purchasing an additional freezer and shelving for the new location. With the growing numbers each week and wanting to add personal items (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and soap) they expect to burn through the $6000 and more considering they will need more food, equipment and maybe another freezer or refrigerator to support there needs.

They continue to rely on the generosity of the church parish as well as civic and church organizations for the canned goods and grocery store gift cards they provide but are concerned regarding a possible shortfall of inventory and monetary donations in 2020. Hence, we request consideration for an award from the Maine State Charity Fund to help support continued successful operation in 2020.

Richard Southwick Deputy Grand Knight St. Thomas Council #13861 Knights of Columbus.

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