Holy Cross Church in South Portland. Courtesy photo of Dave Guthro

Parishioners at St. John Paul II Parish have collected 7,024 pounds of canned and packaged food for the South Portland Food Cupboard. The parish, including St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Scarborough, Holy Cross Church in South Portland, and St. Bartholomew Church in Cape Elizabeth, raised the donations over Lent.

The donations were raised through the annual program “40 Cans for Lent,” conducted by Knights of Columbus Councils 2344, 8144, and 11747. The results surpassed the parish’s goal by over 500 pounds, and exceeded last year’s by almost 1,000 pounds.

“Every year (the program has) grown in size and the amount of funds that have been collected that way,” said Father Jack Dickinson. “It’s an ongoing one that we do every Lent, the time before Easter. And it’s a great way of recognizing that we’re not called to just keep things for ourselves but to give back to the community, thinking of those who are most in need.”

40 Cans for Lent was created in Helotes, Texas, in 2011 by Dennis Chaput, a financial secretary for a local Knights of Columbus council. The program took hold and spread to councils and parishes nationally.

“It’s one of those things that Lent, the time before Easter, is always a time that we think about those things more,” said Dickinson. “…Every year we set a higher goal because usually the year before we’ve surpassed it … and it all stays local for the South Portland Food Cupboard which serves multiple communities.”

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