Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Dracut Food Pantry

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

For Those Who Need Assistance and Those Who Want to Help

How did the pantry get started?

In 2006, a committee to form the Dracut Food Pantry was established by three Dracut churches – St. Francis Parish, St. Marguerite D’Youville Parish and Christ Church United. Town representation was added, and the committee underwent several months of groundwork. The pantry opened at Beaver Brook Mills in October 2007 with just six families, but the demand grew quickly to over 100 families – or nearly 300 people of all ages.

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Who can visit the pantry?

We welcome any Dracut resident (or any non-Dracut resident referred by a Dracut church) who is among those struggling in this difficult economy to put food on the table. We are aware that it takes courage and humility to ask for help, and we applaud anyone who takes that step. One of the goals of the pantry is to not only send client families home with an emergency supply of non-perishable food, but also to make the experience of going to a pantry a less difficult one.

Treating our clients with kindness and compassion is important at the Dracut Food Pantry.

We are located in Beaver Brook Mills on Lakeview Avenue, the lower level, behind Owen & Ollie’s Restaurant. Look for Dracut Food Pantry signs. In case of inclement winter weather, call the pantry first about our status. Telephone: 978-957-8600.

Please note that the Dracut Food Pantry cannot deliver food or provide transportation.

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Are children welcome?

Children are most welcome to come to the pantry with their parents.

Since we are open on a Saturday and have many children visiting, we have added the Dracut Food Pantry Kid’s Corner, courtesy of a donation by the staff of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Spencer Mullin. Dr. Mullin asked that in lieu of a holiday gift, the staff contribute to the Dracut Food Pantry. Thanks to his generosity, children can now keep themselves entertained during the wait with crayons, books, games, puzzles and toys.

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Who runs the pantry?

The pantry is run by a Board of Directors consisting of 10 volunteers from each of the three churches and the town. No one is paid to work at the pantry. From the Board of Directors to the volunteers, from stocking shelves to collecting food, from welcoming clients on Saturday to restocking the shelves for the next opening, Dracut Food Pantry is a 100% volunteer organization.

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How can I get food assistance?

Come to the pantry on the fourth Saturday (please check our schedule for date changes due to holidays) of every month between the hours of 9:00 am and 12:00 p.m. Due to USDA regulations, you will be asked for social security numbers for each member of the family, a form of identification (license), proof of residency in the form of a utility bill and proof of income. Once all your paperwork has been filled out, you can return each month or whenever needed without doing additional paperwork.

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When is the best arrival time?

With many clients arriving early, the wait has increased during the early morning hours. The wait is shorter (or none at all) for anyone coming in between 11:00 am and 11:30 p.m. Each client shops individually with a volunteer, which creates more of a wait than if the pantry simply handed out pre-boxed food. However, clients are able to shop for exactly what they need, eliminating waste.

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Where does the food come from?

Dracut is a community that has a history of taking care of its own during difficult times, and we are blessed with people who truly care and want to help. Food is provided through food drives at schools, businesses and organizations; monetary donations from the community; and from the generous Friends of the Dracut Food Pantry, who receive an email update each month of the “most needed” items, shop for those items, and drop them off at the Dracut Fire Station.

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How can I help?

Currently, the best way is to sign up as a Friend of the Dracut Food Pantry by emailing friendsdfp@comcast.net. You will receive a newsletter each month updating you on the “happenings” at the pantry and also listing the “most needed” items for the next pantry opening. All donated items can be dropped off any time at the Dracut Central Fire Station on Pleasant Street. Members of the Fire Dept. will deliver those items to the pantry.

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I have some food I want to donate. Where can I drop it off?

We are not open during the week, so our main drop-off point is at the Dracut Central Fire Station on Pleasant Street, across from the softball fields. Inside the lobby are green recycle bins where food can be deposited. Additional collection spots are the Moses Greeley Parker Library and the Dracut Senior Center. For smaller donations, there is a bin located in the hallway outside the pantry door. The pantry is located at Beaver Brook Mills, 1934 Lakeview Avenue, Building 7, First Floor.

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What about monetary donations?

Monetary donations are always welcome. We are a non-profit organization so your donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Dracut Food Pantry and mailed to: Dracut Food Pantry, 1934 Lakeview Avenue, Dracut, MA 01826

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How can I volunteer?

The Dracut Food Pantry is blessed with an incredible crew of volunteers who take their roles very seriously and also enjoy their work at the pantry, serving those in need. We have a crew that works at the Saturday openings; another that comes in during the day to help stock shelves; and another that comes in at night to code food donations (eliminating expired food) and sort the food in stockroom.

The two Sorting and Stocking crews are called in by an email alert (a few days in advance) when help is needed. Anyone who is available at that time comes in to help. The volunteers on the Saturday crew typically work every other month in two-hour shifts.

Periodically we add new volunteers as the need arises. If you are interested in volunteering when we add new volunteers, email dfpvolunteers@comcast.net. Please state which crew (above) would interest you the most.

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Can my children help?

Currently we only have volunteers working at the pantry on Saturdays who are ages 21 and over (due to privacy for the clients). Those under 21 can be added to the night-time Sort and Stock crew by emailing dfpvolunteers@comcast.net.

We do want to encourage our youth to get involved in collecting food for the pantry through schools, churches and youth groups (with adult supervision). We discourage informal door-to-door food drives.

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How can I do a food drive?

There are endless creative ways to collect food, and the amount collected does not matter. Every little bit helps. We’ve had several children request non-perishable items at birthday parties in lieu of gifts, and many adults celebrating milestone birthdays are doing the same.

The Christ Church United Youth Ministry has raised money at several church events, shopped for the most needed items, delivered them to the pantry and stocked them on the shelves – a great way to complete the cycle.

Several groups have held holiday and family parties and asked guests to bring food for the pantry in lieu of a hostess gift or gift swaps. All of these efforts help us tremendously, and those contributing feel good about it.

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What are the types of items you need?

It varies each month, depending on how many food drives have been organized, but the non-perishable basics are always welcome. They include canned vegetables – canned fruit – canned meat – jelly/jam – peanut butter – pasta sauce – rice & pasta – sugar/brown sugar – shampoo/soap – coffee/tea – 100% fruit juice/juice boxes – soups – snacks – vegetable oil – flour – cake/brownie mix – cereal – pancake mix – syrup – tuna – oatmeal (regular or instant) – baked beans – canned pastas – macaroni and cheese – tomatoes and tomato paste – Jell-O and puddings – paper products. To receive an email update each month of the “most needed” items, please email friendsdfp@comcast.net.

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