Wilton food pantry finds new home

Open Cupboard | Upcoming sale of former local church prompted relocation.

WILTON – With the upcoming sale of the former Sacred Heart Church, the Open Cupboard Food Pantry had to find a new home.

“We’re moving to Wilton Falls Building,” Director Linda LaDouceur said, “with many thanks to owner Chuck Crawford,” who had the space repainted for the pantry.

The new site is to the right of the church thrift shop, LaDouceur said, “and should suit our purposes very well.”

The food pantry was started about 22 years ago by the late Deb Ducharme, LaDouceur said.

“We were always at the church,” she said. “We began with one big cupboard. That’s how we got our name.”

The facility serves residents of Wilton, Lyndeborough, Greenfield and Temple. Use is by appointment only for privacy reasons, and averages about 35 appointments each month.

“People come and shop,” she said. “It’s like a grocery store where you can pick out what you want, not come and be handed a basket of food. That’s how Deb wanted it.”

The pantry is supported mostly by donations, she said, as well as the New Hampshire Food Bank, where it can buy food at reduced prices; New Hampshire Charities; and Southern New Hampshire Services. It also can get federal free food when available.

The pantry is nonprofit under the auspices of the Wilton Lions Club.

“We lost our nonprofit status when they closed the church,” she said, “and the Lions took us on.”

She added, “The community is extremely generous. We are all volunteers.”

For an appointment or to volunteer, call LaDouceur at 654-2635, which is also the number for Whiting Hill School.

“People shouldn’t hesitate to call,” she said. “We encourage people to apply for food stamps and help them through the process if they need it.”

There are collection baskets at local churches, and all the schools participate in one way or another.

“The different sections of the Legion – the ladies and the sons – compete to see who can collect the most food,” LaDouceur said.

“Deb was our founder, very concerned about our senior citizens,” she said, “and she is the spirit of the pantry. We miss her.”

The pantry’s senior dinners were discontinued when problems were found with the heating system at the church.

“We’ll look into another place,” LaDouceur said.