In response to the difficulty in serving the rising number of people coming to the Area Interfaith Outreach food pantry during the three mornings it is open — Monday, Wednesday and Friday —  the AIO board has decided to open on Saturdays, as well – the same hours: 9:30 a.m. to noon. The first Saturday will be Jan. 16.

Many mornings, more than 50 households crowd the waiting room, and many are often inside awaiting their turn when the door closes at noon. The staff, all of them volunteers, stay, often until nearly 1 p.m.

Also, many people who are employed but don’t get enough hours or sufficient wages to support their families need the food pantry. By offering weekend hours, AIO hopes to serve them better.

Clients should know that though food will be available, it’s unlikely that AIO will be able to write vouchers for emergency assistance on Saturdays. Those require telephone calls to vendor offices that are closed on weekends.

People who would like to volunteer for the Saturday hours should send an email to info@aiofoodpantry.org or go to AIO’s Facebook page and sign up for a Saturday. Someone will call to confirm your interest. The street address, which is not the mailing address, is 70 Thomaston St., at the corner of Broadway across from Rockland District Middle School.