SCARBOROUGH — Parishioners at St. John Paul II Parish, which includes St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough; Holy Cross Church, South Portland; and St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth, set out to help neighbors in need during Lent, and help them they did.

In total 6,208 pounds of canned goods and packaged food were donated during “40 Cans for Lent,” which was conducted by Knights of Columbus Councils #2344, #8144, and #11747.

All the proceeds from the “40 Cans for Lent” were donated to the South Portland Food Cupboard, which was started in 1997. Students at Holy Cross School in South Portland often assist the volunteers with organizing donations and stocking shelves.

“40 Cans for Lent” originated in 2011 in Helotes, Texas. 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 2010. The program has now spread to councils and parishes across the country.

For more information on how to help the food cupboard or for distribution schedules, visit or call (207) 874-0379.