Community Food Pantry volunteers in Cumberland organize ahead of Thanksgiving box distribution day Nov. 18. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth food pantries were busy in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, prepping to make the holiday more enjoyable for local families in need.

The Community Food Pantry in Cumberland hosted its annual Thanksgiving basket drive Nov. 18 for dinner ingredients, along with other grocery items. The pantry, which serves families in Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Pownal and New Gloucester, has held the drive for 11 years.

Town Manager Bill Shane, who runs the pantry with his wife, Linda, said Thanksgiving basket day is one of the pantry’s busiest days of the year. It’s rewarding because he gets to connect with the many members of the Cumberland community, he said.

Also offered on basket day is a gift room, where families can choose from small donated gifts.

“One of the first years, my wife was talking to one of the moms, and she broke down crying in the parking lot because all she had was two or three pencils that she could give as a gift to her kids to bring to school for their classmates,” Shane said. “We came up with this idea for a gift room.”

The gift room is also available at Christmastime.


“For us, it’s the giving back part of it,” Shane said.

The Falmouth Food Pantry, partnering with the Falmouth Lions Club and Holy Martyrs Church, also offered a Thanksgiving basket program this year. Pantry President Dorothy Blanchette said last week that the pantry delivered boxes with extra fresh fruit and vegetables. Additionally, a couple dozen families received gift cards sponsored by the Falmouth Lions Club, which will allow them to purchase their own food for Thanksgiving.

“Many of these families really are having a hard time providing enough food for themselves for the holidays, but it goes beyond the holidays, it’s really every day,” Blanchette said. “I think that this allows them to have a celebration.”

Early this week, the Yarmouth Food Pantry delivered Thanksgiving baskets containing all of the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, including both shelf staples and fresh produce along with a Hannaford gift card, to about 65 families in the Yarmouth community.

Yarmouth Food Pantry Coordinator Nancy Gordon said that the baskets went out to families recommended by Yarmouth schools and to food pantry patrons.

“It gives families a meal that they probably would not get with just the regular visits to the pantry,” Gordon said. “We try to make sure that it’s more tailored to what a traditional Thanksgiving meal would be.”

Comments are not available on this story.