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Shelters, pantries benefit from Market Basket donations

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 31. 2014 9:42PM

Homeless shelters, food pantries — and even pigs — are benefiting from donated food during the ongoing Market Basket dispute.

“All the (bread) stuff that was past date we gave to a number of pig farms, people who had livestock,” Tilton store director Mike LeClair said Thursday.

The Tilton store also is giving away “hundreds of gallons” of milk a day to food pantries and shelters, he said. Milk is pulled from the shelves five days prior to its expiration date.

Some milk orders were already in the pipeline, and boycotting customers have resulted in a 94 percent dropoff of cash register receipts at the Tilton store, LeClair said.

A family feud among Market Basket shareholders has led to customer boycotts, picketing workers and limited food deliveries to stores, causing many shoppers to deviate from their normal weekly routines. Some workers haven’t returned to their jobs while others have joined picket lines outside stores during their off-hours.The timing of the donations couldn’t be better for people waiting for their food stamps on Aug. 5.

“This is the time of the month food pantries get so busy because everyone stretched their food stamps to the max and they don’t have anything left,” said Lorrie Dale, director of McKenna House, a Concord homeless shelter that can house up to 26 people.

Dale is coordinating some of the Market Basket donations from the Tilton store. She helped distribute 75 gallons of milk Thursday to several locations.

“I’ve been a milk pusher today,” she said. “A lot of people donate cereal and we never have milk to go with it.”

She planned to pick up bread at the Tilton store later Thursday and return Friday morning to collect milk.

“I can probably distribute over 225 gallons of milk (Friday),” said Dale, who was unsure how much would be available. She hopes to help out about a half-dozen organizations.

Milk was already traveling Thursday.

“We’re already giving it out,” said Capt. Sally Warren of the Salvation Army food pantry in Concord.

Dale said she alerted the Salvation Army workers in Laconia and they also picked up milk.

McKenna House received a couple cases of bananas from the Market Basket in Concord last week.

“They were gone in about five days,” she said.

Dale appreciates the food.

“They know we need it,” Dale said, adding store employees don’t “want to waste all this milk.”

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