Using donations from the community, a local food pantry was able to buy its building and put more money into helping families in need.
The Interchurch Food Pantry did a fundraising campaign last year, which raised $582,000, allowing the pantry to buy its building at 211 Commerce Drive, in Franklin. Donors included individuals, churches and businesses.
“It’s just amazing to see the support throughout the community for helping those who need it,” said Carol Phipps, pantry manager.
By buying the building, the pantry no longer has to pay a monthly rent or mortgage and also is able to collect rent from the other tenants in the building, a day care and a church, which also brings in more revenue, she said.
That allows the pantry to be able to spend more money on the families it helps. For example, recently the pantry began offering eggs to the families it serves, and Phipps also would like to begin offering milk and other items soon.
“Our dollars are stretched much further to pay for food for those who truly need it in our community,” she said.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to offer really important staples by having more funds available for purchases.”
The pantry moved to the building on Commerce Drive from its former home on Graham Road last year. The move has helped the pantry serve a greater number of people, Phipps said.
Officials estimate a 70 percent increase in the number of households served since last spring, which is partly due to a new setup that allows families to shop for their food and allows the pantry to help more people in a shorter period of time, she said. The pantry served 3,000 families last year and had a total of 16,827 visits.
“At the old location, we were really constrained with how many people we could serve,” she said.
The food pantry serves multiple families with different needs, including seniors living on fixed incomes, people who are no longer eligible for food stamps or others who work, but don’t make enough to pay all the bills, Phipps said.