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Easton Food Pantry Expects Busiest Days Ever Next Week

The Easton organization is prepared to cater to the pre-Thanksgiving crowd.

Easton Food Pantry founder Ken Wood said Monday and Tuesday next week are expected to be the two busiest days in the program's history.

But, as always, the 34-year-old organization will be fully prepared.

"Nobody should be left out without some help," he said. "We should be able to do it."

Wood said he expects the pre-Thanksgiving crowd to number 160 families. Last year, the Easton Food Pantry served 130 families for the major distribution day. In 2010, 90 families were served, and 70 were served in 2009.

"The part time jobs just aren’t cutting it," Wood said. "And now, this time of year we’re going to start getting elders because they have a choice between medicine, heat and food. So, they’re not going to give up their medicine and they’re not going to give up their heat. They’re going to cut back on all their foods."

Wood said the pantry is continually reaching out to families, and is hoping to catch the eye of some of Easton's veterans who may be in need of some help.

Serving the exponentially rising amount of recipients has been a group effort involving a long list of volunteers, donors, Easton businesses and Easton organizations.

Wood takes pride in the organization's mission of "Serving Easton" and says that members of the community have worked towards that mission as well.

Next Monday and Tuesday, Hannaford Supermarkets, Shaw's Supermarkets and Roche Brothers will all contribute. Additionally, Personal Best Karate will be providing 140 turkeys, Wood said.

Distribution will be handled by a slew of volunteers - some of whom are waiting in the wings to help.

"We have a waiting list of volunteers," Wood said. "The time when we use all those volunteers is big distribution days: Thanksgiving and Christmas for two days – Mondays and Tuesdays."

Wood said to handle the influx of food, a 53-foot trailer donated by WalMart will be shipped to Easton from New Hampshire. Additionally, from 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.,  the Easton Lions Club will offer free hearing and vision screenings to all recipients and any veterans interested in the program. Southeast Rehab will also offer blood pressure and diabetes screenings.

While pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas distribution days are the busiest, the food pantry, which Wood started as a one-man operation in 1978, operates year-round.

Wood urged residents to get involved. He said the pantry is in most need of cereal, tuna, pasta, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, canned soup and peanut butter. Items are collected at all North Easton Savings Bank, Mansfield Bank on Belmont Street, Roche Brothers, Shaw's, Hannaford, Easton Town Offices and the Easton Police Department.

All drop-off locations house organizations that have been supportive of the food pantry over the years, along with dozens of non-profits, businesses and organizations.

"It's a community thing," Wood said. "There's no two ways about it."

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