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November 08. 2012 11:38AM

Food pantries gear up for holiday rush

Ruth Mariano Photo On Saturday, Nov. 8, beginning as early as 8 a.m., Hooksett Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will go door to door to collect donations for the Hooksett Food Pantry. They can accept nonperishable food items or checks made payable to the Hooksett Food Pantry. You can also donate directly by stopping by the Hooksett Food Pantry. (Ruth Mariano photo)

Another Halloween is in the books, and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, area food pantries are stockpiling so they can provide a proper dinner for those in need.

The lack of summer heating costs allows for extra dollars to be spent on food, but pantries continue to supply many of their clients year-round. For most food pantries, as the weather gets colder and the holidays roll around, the demand rises.

So, with the greater need, pantries across New Hampshire are again looking for an influx of donations.

Barbara Brennan, chairman of the Hooksett Community Food Pantry, said it is too early to tell how well the pantry will be prepared for the holidays. The Underhill and Memorial schools start drives at the beginning of November, and Brennan said that will give her a better idea of what to expect. The Hooksett Community Food Pantry also has donation bins in local businesses.

“Stores have collection baskets for us,” Brennan said. “I can tell you that those are getting more filled up, so I think people are starting to realize it’s getting close to the holiday season.”

The Hooksett Community Food Pantry is involved in Scouting for Food, a nationwide event on Nov. 10. Participants leave nonperishables on their front steps, and the pantry sends volunteers to collect them.

“In years past we’ve done pretty well,” Brennan said. “A lot of times we can tell how good the season is going to be by the amount of food we get from Scouting for Food.”

Grocery stores like Shaw’s and Hannaford in Hooksett leave out collection boxes. McDonald’s and General Electric have also held food drives for the Hooksett Community Food Pantry in the past.

Food pantries benefit greatly from the donation of money, rather than just food itself. Outside the donated food, pantries also purchase goods from the New Hampshire Food Bank to provide for their clients.

The Food Bank sells food at discounted prices – 9 cents per pound – to the pantries, which then distribute it to those in need.

Hooksett also holds collection sites at the library and town hall.

Of course, the best place to donate is at the pantries. Visit the food pantry websites to learn hours, other drop-off sites and an updated list of what they need most.

Area food pantries:

Hooksett Food Pantry
Hooksett Town Hall
Open Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon, 485-7222

Interfaith Food Pantry
147 Main St., Pembroke
Open Wednesdays, 1 to 3 p.m.
Serving Allenstown and Pembroke
Allenstown Town Welfare: contact
Muriel Previe at 485-4747, ext. 204

Candia Food Pantry
Candia Town Hall
Open Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m., 370-2977

Epsom Food Pantry
Epsom Town Hall
Serving Epsom residents by appointment only. They also accept food and financial donations. 736-5507

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