Rehoboth Food Pantry is Moving Forward under New Leadership
Since Steve Martin retired as coordinator of the Rehoboth “Helping Hands” Food Pantry a little more than a year ago, a lot has been happening at the Food Pantry. A 12-member board of directors and several volunteers have been working hard to move the organization forward while continuing its mission to serve the community. “We have come a long way in the short 15 months since assuming duties of the Rehoboth Food Pantry,” said Pantry President William Dalpe, Jr. in an email.
Dalpe says the goal was to make the pantry more of a community-run organization. Board members are responsible for various duties including finance, public relations and food coordination. “Now it’s an organization that is not dependent on just one or two people,” Dalpe said.
The pantry, located at 51 Winthrop Street, has recently been expanded. A food sorting area was added as well as a separate food storage room. “The expansion from a one-room distribution room and borrowed space for sorting and food storage was an absolute necessity to fulfill future growth and to qualify us to be part of the Greater Boston Food Bank network,” Dalpe said. The board has been trying to become part of the Greater Boston Food Bank almost since they took over and their efforts have finally paid off. “I am extremely pleased to announce that as of October the Rehoboth Food Pantry is now part of the Greater Boston Food Bank’s list of members. This has been a great deal of work and I am proud of all our Board members for making it happen. It’ll take a couple of months to ramp it up but we are looking forward to the task,” Dalpe said.
The board of directors also recently dedicated the food distribution room in honor of Steve and his wife Sara.
“We have dedicated the food distribution room to Steve and Sara Martin in the form of a mounted plaque to recognize their over 30 years of commitment in helping our neighbors. They have certainly set the gold standard for what it means to be a humble and hardworking volunteer,” Dalpe said.
Martin always said that it takes many individuals working together to keep the Pantry going and that hasn’t changed. From the food drives held by the Boy and Girl Scouts and local churches to the businesses that act as food donation and holiday drop-off sites to the generosity of individuals and groups, these all drive the Pantry’s operation. “Words cannot express the gratitude we have for the continued support we receive from local businesses, our schools, churches, Scout groups, Lions groups, and individuals of Rehoboth and surrounding communities. It is extremely humbling. The only thing we can do as a Board to show our gratitude is to continue to do our very best to help our neighbors,” Dalpe said.
The Food Pantry will be offering food baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas again this year. The annual Blizzard of Giving campaign is entering its 17th year of helping to make children’s holiday wishes come true. Maureen Brawley has been coordinating the drive for many years. In the Blizzard of Giving program, displays of paper snowflakes are put up in various locations around town and each snowflake has a gift request from a Rehoboth family. Displays are located at: Anawan Cleaners, Blanding Library, the Rehoboth Post Office, Chartley Store, Beckwith Middle School and Palmer River Elementary School. The deadline to return gifts is December 10. People can also donate an unwrapped toy and place it in one of the Blizzard of Giving boxes around town. “We always welcome anything you want to donate. If you want to fill a special request you should take a snowflake because those are specific requests from Rehoboth families,” Brawley said.
Anyone who wants to volunteer at the Rehoboth Food Pantry or donate can visit the Facebook page, call 508-493-1922 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rehoboth Food Pantry Board Members
William Dalpe, President; Robert Brawley, Vice President/GBFB Liaison; Odette Lacourse, Secretary; Julie Dalpe, Treasurer; Paula Fernandes, Food Coordinator; Scott Lacourse, Public Relations; Deb Gareau, Finance Committee; Art Gareau, Finance Committee; Beth Dalpe, member at large; Elizabeth Day, member at large; Glenna Morris, member at large.