SCARBOROUGH — St. Maximilian Kolbe Church is collecting canned goods and packaged foods for an initiative called 40 Cans for Lent. The drive began Feb. 17.

Started by the Knights of Columbus, the initiative spans from Ash Wednesday to the Thursday before Easter, said a press release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

According to a diocese email, 40 Cans for Lent originated in Texas in 2011.

“Dennis Chaput, a financial secretary for a local Knights council there, says the idea of a simple, straightforward one-can-per-day donation, inspired by Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert, came to him in the middle of the night in September of 2010,” the diocese wrote. “In 2019, the three churches combined to donate nearly 6,700 pounds of food. While in 2020, despite the initiative ending quickly due to the pandemic, around 3,000 pounds of food was collected.”

According to organizers, people interested in donating should bring goods to the church’s lobby that is equipped with collection barrels. All proceeds will go to the South Portland Food Cupboard.

“The pantry and its dedicated volunteers operate out of a warehouse on Thaddeus Street,” organizers said. “In non-pandemic times, students at Holy Cross School in South Portland often assist the volunteers with organizing donations and stocking shelves.”

For more information about 40 Cans for Lent, call the parish office at 883-0334.

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