Supporters sought for Loaves & Fishes ’30 for 30′ campaign


Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry is looking for local businesses and civic groups to join its “30 for 30” campaign — run a food drive for 30 days to support the pantry’s 30 years of service to the six local towns of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley.

Businesses and organizations are asked to select a month in the calendar year to support the pantry with a food drive. Loaves & Fishes has seen a 42 percent increase in demand since 2007 and a 10 percent increase last year alone. Assistance from the entire community is needed to help maintain care of these families.

The increased need is being driven, in part, by the growing number of people struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, from food to utilities, say pantry representatives.

“The face of hunger is changing, and Loaves & Fishes is seeing more and more people come to us for help. During 2012 we welcomed 332 new families to the Pantry,” Patty Stern, executive director for the food pantry, said in a statement. “Many of these new families report having been comfortable middle-class income families and now, one or both wage earners are unemployed or underemployed.”

In fact, 57 percent of all of Loaves & Fishes clients are in that situation, with another 31 percent either retired or disabled. They struggle with the challenges of keeping their homes from foreclosure, heating their homes and feeding their children. That is why Loaves & Fishes is reaching out to local businesses to sign up for a monthlong food drive to help all of these people at their most vulnerable time.

Loaves & Fishes can provide guidelines for running a food drive as well as signage, schedule a tour or book a speaking engagement. It can assist in picking up the food once it’s collected if that is needed. Loaves & Fishes will also look to promote those companies that support the “30 for 30” campaign. The spring and summer months are our most critical for support. Contact or call 978-772-4627 for information.