Advent Blog 2020 – #MissionMonday with the Reading Food Pantry

Our local food pantry is one of the most immediate ways that we can care for our neighbors. Currently, the Food Pantry serves over 100 clients, of which many are seniors. The COVID-19 Pandemic has seriously affected pantry clients as well as the pantry volunteers. Currently, the pantry is offering a curbside pickup system for clients, who are currently able to come twice a month so that numbers are staggered. Donations are able to be dropped off at the pantry at 6 Salem Street from 4-6 PM on Wednesdays. All the work of the pantry is done by dedicated volunteers.

Items the Reading Food Pantry is always in need of:
coffee, tea, cooking oil, sugar, flour, shampoo/conditioner, laundry detergent, soap, four-packs of toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels.

Did you know that the Food Pantry uses monetary donations to purchase items that they don’t get by donation? The Reading Food Pantry is able to purchase from the Boston Food Bank, but some items can’t come from that source.

In addition to food, pantry, and toiletry staples, clients also receive a Market Basket gift card ($15 for individuals and $30 for families) which can be used to help stipend the cost of groceries. The pantry can always use donations of Market Basket gift cards in $15 increments to help hand out.

How to donate to the Reading Food Pantry

Donate money
Donate online to the pantry by visiting its PayPal page here.
Or send a check made out to Reading Food Pantry, 6 Salem St., Reading, MA 01867

Donate pantry items like those listed above at the following times and locations:

  • Wednesdays from 4-6 PM at the Reading Food Pantry (located at Old South Church, 6 Salem Street, Reading, MA)
    • Please note: the last 2020 drop off will be December 16th, it picks back up again in the new year.
  • This week from 9 AM – 1 PM, Monday through Thursday, until December 17th at our office door on Sanborn Street (there is a box just in the doorway for drop-offs)
  • Any time at the Reading Stop & Shop and Market Basket locations

And follow the Reading Food Pantry on Facebook here.

Normally, prior to the pandemic, we collected pantry items weekly in a basket just outside our office and music room. Community members using our building as well as church members on Sundays knew they could leave items at that spot whenever they could. Just as COVID has affected pantry clients and volunteers, it’s affected how we are able to help take donations, too. Every once in a while a stray donation will still appear in that basket by someone who happened to be in the building as we are socially distancing and limiting time in the building.

We are taking a collection of bottled and canned items throughout December until December 17th as a part of our December Mission Ministry. You can drop those off just inside the Office Door on Sanborn Street. There is a box there for drop-offs. The drop off is open Monday through Thursday from 9 AM – 1 PM.

If you are someone who may need assistance from the pantry, you can get in touch in two ways:
For a referral, call Town of Reading Human services at (781) 942-6608 and ask for Kerry Valle, case manager.
Or call the Food Pantry at (781) 944-8486