Could you go a day without toilet paper? I sure couldn't. For many of our guests, something most of us take for granted is a luxury they can't afford. Each week, ONT gives one roll of toilet paper to each household who comes to our pantry. While guests may pick and choose different food items, everyone always says "yes" to this offering.
Imagine trying to get your life in order, but you don't have enough money to purchase toilet paper, soap, shampoo, or toothpaste. Imagine having to go for a job interview, but you haven't been able to brush your teeth for a week. Imagine your daughter's classmate trying to fit in, but facing ridicule because she has not been able to wash her hair. What would this do to your self confidence? At the core of ONT's mission is to serve our neighbors with kindness and dignity. Offering toiletries in our weekly pantry is just as important as providing food. These personal care items feed our guests' sense of confidence and personal dignity and support their overall health. Even if a family receives WIC or SNAP (food stamps), these benefits cannot be used to purchase essentials like soap and toilet paper.
Our pantry is very low on toiletries. We need your help to continue to nurture our guests' sense of self. The next time you are shopping or clipping coupons for discounts on toothpaste or shampoo, please consider buying a few extra items for our pantry. Donations can be dropped off at our office Monday through Saturday or put in donation bins located at Citizens Bank/Stop & Shop or Vermette's Market. For more information about toiletries in our food pantry, please feel free to contact our Pantry Director, Lori Townsend.
On June 28th, more than 50 runners turned out to climb Po' Hill and raise food and money for Our Neighbors' Table. It was the very first Rock CAN Run Road Race, organized by one of Our Neighbors’ Table’s youngest volunteers – Andre Bailin. Andre is 9 years old, and in the 3rd grade at Amesbury Elementary School. He has been involved with road races his whole life, and, this year, put his experience to good use with his first event to benefit Our Neighbors’ Table.
The Rock CAN Run Road Race was a one mile run up Pow Wow Hill starting at the Nicholas Costello Transportation Center. Despite the hot temperatures, dozens of enthusiastic runners lined the starting line and ran to the top - nearly all of them carrying heavy bags of canned goods for ONT's pantry. The run is difficult climb, but for most it's over in less than 30 minutes. For the thousands of people facing hunger in our region, hunger is an uphill climb every day. The Rock CAN Run collected more than 12 crates of food and $800 to help ONT make that climb a little easier for our neighbors.
At the end of the run, participants enjoyed Turkey Hill ice cream provided by 104.1FM and a beautiful view to the Atlantic from Batchelder Park. Andre and his family even hosted runners back at his house for live music and refreshments! Way to go Andre! You are an inspiration for generations to come!
Many people, when they think of Our Neighbors’ Table, think immediately of the Wednesday Meal. Others think of our Amesbury Food Pantry. For hungry families in Merrimac, Our Neighbors’ Table means the Merrimac Mobile Food Pantry! For six years, the Merrimac Mobile Food Pantry, operated by a small group of dedicated volunteers, has provided groceries (including milk, eggs, meat and fresh produce) to residents of the town of Merrimac. 181 households have registered since the beginning of the program, and an average of 50-60 households are served at each pantry.
Volunteers gather on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at the Merrimac Senior Center at approximately 9:00 am and begin to set up tables. Once the ONT truck arrives full of groceries, they unload the truck and set up all the food, usually with the help of guests who have come early to lend a hand. In a 2-hour span, volunteers will set-up, check-in, distribute, carry, deliver, reload the truck and clean-up! According to volunteer Sue Ranshaw, who coordinates the Merrimac Mobile Pantry, what makes these volunteers remarkable isn’t just their efficiency, it’s that they work together so well as a group. She describes them as one big family – where they get to know the guests by name – and they have a wonderful time with lots of laughs, hugs and genuine affection! The volunteers are exceptionally hardworking and dependable, Sue says, but more importantly, they are extremely kind and respectful to anyone who comes for food, exemplifying ONT’s mission to provide guests with nourishing food, kindness, dignity and community.
Volunteers include Sue Ranshaw, Nancy Bachelder, Diana and Bob Domings, Marilyn Dutton, Betty Elliott, Colleen and Nick Fiorello, Gail and John Korpusik, Ingrid and Gene Robinson, Dave Olson, Clint Furnald, and Jim Christofferson. The youngest volunteer, Jason Attili, has been coming since last fall and is one of the hardest workers, doing anything and everything that needs doing without being asked! We would like to take this opportunity to thank these wonderful volunteers for all that they do for Our Neighbors’ Table and for their community!
Get involved today! Check out these upcoming opportunities to lend a hand here at ONT.
Be a Leader!
Volunteers play a critical role in delivering our programs to people in need. But did you know volunteers also serve a vital role in laying the groundwork for ONT's future? ONT's Board of Directors is looking for energetic individuals who are passionate about ending hunger to serve on its working committees. We'd love to put your talents and expertise to great use!
The Volunteer Recognition Committee works to improve our volunteers' overall experience at ONT through better communication, opportunities for recognition, support and training. Table Talk was born from our Volunteer Recognition Committee. If you like to nurture others, have good ideas about supporting volunteers, and want to help, contact Pat Smith or Murray Bailey to find out more!
Keeping our pantry and kitchen stocked takes a lot of food and cash donations. Our Resource Development Committee coordinates our calendar of food drives and fundraisers to make sure we are here for anyone who needs us. If you are creative and like to talk about the work we do at ONT, then contact Joan Bukoskey or Amanda Kelcourse to get involved today!
Our Summer Lunch Program is underway, providing lots of nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack foods to help families get through the summer break. This program not only helps families, but gives families a great opportunity to help. We have the following openings. Call 978.388.1907 or email Lyndsey to reserve your slot today!
Saturdays, 9:00-11:30 - July 26, August 9 and 23