Hannaford Supermarket employees have made a surprise $1,000 donation to the Biddeford Food Pantry. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — A generous donation to an organization dedicated to helping those in need will certainly be put to good use in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, the staff of Hannaford Supermarket in Biddeford presented Don Bisson, director of the Biddeford Food Pantry with a check for $1,000, a gesture of kindness that left Bisson speechless at first.

“Oh my, this was so unexpected,” Bisson said later. “We’re simply thrilled to receive this donation and we can really use it.”

Bisson said Hannaford Supermarket is a strong supporter of the food pantry and continually helps them, such as distributing Helping Hands food boxes to the nonprofit organization each Christmas.

Biddeford Hannaford Store Manager Fred Marlin said the donation is part of a Customer Appreciation Event that focuses on community charities.

“Each Hannaford store in our area received $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice and we chose Biddeford Food Pantry because of all the efforts they make on behalf of those in our community,” Marlin said. “Hannaford is part of this community and our employees believe that the Biddeford Food Pantry does a great job and we wanted to show our support through this donation.”

Biddeford Food Pantry, located at 162 Elm St. in Biddeford was established in 1981, and is the oldest food pantry in Maine. It is a nonprofit service that distributes more than 200,000 pounds of food to those in need in the community every year.

Bisson said Biddeford Food Pantry, once known as the Friends of Community Action Food Pantry, will not refuse to help anyone who visits seeking assistance.

It is open from 7 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Program participants often receive three weeks of food monthly including a large grocery bag of non-perishable items such as canned soups, canned vegetables, canned fruits, pasta sauce, rice, and beans; a large banana box containing assorted breads, frozen meats, yogurt, potatoes, oatmeal, juices, hotdogs, muffins and other items; and a large grocery bag of pastries, juices, oils, condiments, marinades, two gallons of bottled water and a gallon of milk. The actual quantity of food given out is determined by the number of people that are being fed.

According to Bisson, the food pantry serves a mix of low-income people whom may be elderly, single mothers with children, mentally and physically impaired, have health issues, transient or homeless people, new immigrants now living in Maine, or even those in need of emergency food rescue because of unpredictable life situations. These people are often unemployed, or under employed and may even have full-time jobs, but just have a hard time financially making ends meet based on their monthly income level.

“All of us at Biddeford Food Pantry are humbled and grateful for this generous donation from Hannaford Supermarket,” Bisson said. “This shows a deep commitment to our community and we can’t thank them enough. It’s a big gift and totally caught us by surprise.”

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected]

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