Southampton Community Cupboard seeking donations to meet demand

  • Norris School sixth grade students Avery Tudryn, left, Prem Patel and Amelia Goldrup carry boxes of food to the steps of Southampton Community Cupboard, Monday, Apr. 6, 2020 as Michael Iwanicki, who runs the food pantry with his wife, Candice, prepares to carry it inside. A school dance scheduled for May 1 was canceled due to the coronavirus, so students voted to use some of the money earmarked for the dance to buy food for the pantry. The pantry is located at First Congregational Church of Southampton and is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Trista Nadolski, left, who is one of the chairs of the sixth grade committee at Norris School in Southampton, talks with Candy and Michael Iwanicki, who run Southampton Community Cupboard, which is a food pantry located at First Congregational Church of Southampton, Monday, Apr. 6, 2020 at the church. Nadolski helped sixth grade students from the school donate food to the pantry using money from a school dance that was canceled due to the coronavirus. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Norris School sixth grade students Avery Tudryn, left, Amelia Goldrup and Prem Patel carry boxes of food to the steps of Southampton Community Cupboard, Monday, Apr. 6, 2020 as Candice Iwanicki, who runs the food pantry with her husband, Michael, prepares to carry it inside. A school dance scheduled for May 1 was canceled due to the coronavirus, so students voted to use some of the money earmarked for the dance to buy food for the pantry. The pantry is located at First Congregational Church of Southampton and is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben MacFadzen, left, and Max MacFadzen, deliver bags of food to the Southampton Community Cupboard located at First Congregational Church of Southampton, Monday, Apr. 6, 2020. An Eagle Scout project completed by Max in August benefited the food pantry. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2020 11:56:29 AM

SOUTHAMPTON — The Southampton Community Cupboard is asking for more donations from the public so it can replenish its food supply and guarantee service for at least another month.

“We rely heavily on donations,” said Mike Iwanicki, who runs the food pantry with his wife, Candice Iwanicki.

The Southampton Community Cupboard is at the First Congregational Church of Southampton, 212 College Highway. Its hours of operation are 9 to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Mike Iwanicki said that while the pantry has enough food for this coming Saturday, he expects a higher turnout than normal.

The pantry normally serves 20-25 people at a time but, based on the increased attention that the pantry’s Facebook page has been receiving, he estimated that this Saturday it will be serving 50 to 70.

He noted that there’s no income verification to use the pantry and that, in addition to people from Southampton, residents of Westhampton, Westfield and Hatfield use it as well. All the pantry asks for is a person’s name, town, and number of household members.

“Anyone can come and get food,” Mike Iwanicki said.

The Iwanickis took over the management of the food pantry in January.

“It’s been good that we can do something together,” Candice Iwanicki said. “This is something that we’re both interested in.”

Before they took over the management of the pantry, she said, they would donate fresh vegetables from their garden.

Because of regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, those using the pantry don’t go into it anymore. Instead, they take a number, and a bag is delivered to their car. This bag contains items like soup, canned chicken, canned vegetables, pasta, and peanut butter. A slip is then collected where customers have checked off the items they want, and a second bag is then delivered that can contain items like meat, cheese, yogurt, toilet paper and condiments.

The bag system means that, currently, fresh vegetables aren’t being provided, but Candice Iwanicki said fresh produce may be returning as the growing season kicks off.

Mike Iwanicki said one reason that the food supplies at the pantry need to be replenished is that clients get more food under the bag system than when they visited the pantry themselves.

While the Southampton Community Cupboard does receive and purchase supplies from The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, its small size classification means that it’s limited in the quantity it can order.

Mike Iwanicki said additional donations will help replenish the pantry’s supplies for at least the next month. If donations don’t materialize, he said they’ll have to consider reducing the amount of food in the bags they distribute.

Those interested in donating can contact Mike Iwanicki at mikey1261@gmail.com. Cash donations are also helpful, as they are used to buy food, toiletries, and paper bags.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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