Camden Area Christian Food Pantry eyes expansion

Food storage area to be enlarged
By Susan Mustapich | Oct 09, 2017
Courtesy of: Camden Area Christian Food Pantry A capital campaign hopes to raise funds for construction of an addition to the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry, that will increase food storage capacity.

CAMDEN — The Camden Area Christian Food Pantry announced a 2017 Capital Campaign this week, with a focus on raising funds to expand the organization's building on Mount Battie Street.

The site plan amendment for an addition to the back of the building, that will increase storage of both perishable and non-perishable foods, was approved by the Planning Board Sept. 21.

The expansion is expected to cost approximately $100,000 for a 700-square-foot addition to the back of the existing building, according to Tom Crowley, vice president and board member of the organization, who is heading up the campaign. The Food Pantry is a non-profit and all contributions are tax-deductible.

To reserve CACFP's existing funds for food products and personal healthcare items, the organization has set a goal of raising $50,000 over the next 12 months for the building expansion, from a number of sources. These include seeking capital grants, donations from local organizations and businesses, contributions from the towns served, and from the five churches that make up our Food Pantry Board and Service Teams, according to Crowley.

In launching the capital campaign, Crowley cites the generous support and past support of the donors to the CACFP.

Ashley Hunt, president  of the CACFP board believes there are a lot of people in need of of the service.

"There are a lot more people in need, but their pride won't let them come in the door," he said. "We know there are people who need this help, and don't want to admit it, and they are welcome."

Leamon Scott, who serves on the organization's board and building committee, explained to members of the Camden Planning Board, that the food pantry is seeing both an increase in the need for food in the eight towns it serves, as well as an increase in food donations from a generous community and from the federal government. The organization is having trouble finding enough space both on shelves and in freezers and refrigerators to store food donations, according to Scott. The need for more food storage led the organization to look at expanding the facility, he said.

"We serve eight communities and there's a lot of need," Scott said. Oct. 10, "but we're running out of space. The good news is that we can expand our operation and our service."

Gartley & Dorskey Engineering and Surveying has donated work to determine where the addition can be located on the property, and has drawn up preliminary plans. The addition is planned for the back of the building, and is situated so that it will not interfere with an easement for the sewer lines that serve nearby housing on Madison Way.

The back wall of the building is 44 feet long, and the addition is proposed to be 44 feet by 16 feet, which is approximately 700 square feet. Construction plans include regrading the site for drainage and removing shrubbery at the rear of the building.

CACFP has occupied the Mount Battie Street building for about 15 years. It was donated to the organization by MBNA when Charles Cawley was CEO, and MBNA paid for most utilities and maintenance. When MBNA was sold in 2007, the new owners, Maine Investment Properties, gifted the building to CACFP.

The Food Pantry's board of directors consists of people from five local churches, including Saint Thomas Episcopal, Our Lady of Good Hope, the First Congregational Church, Chestnut Street Baptist Church, and John Street United Methodist Church. The unpaid staff of volunteers come from those churches and many others from the Midcoast.

In the past 12 months nearly 1,000 families and individuals were served with the help of up to 75 volunteers. The pantry’s service area is Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Appleton, Hope, Union, Washington and Searsmont. The CACFP serves all those in need without regard to their religious, political, sociological, or personal lifestyle preferences.

The hours of operation are Tuesdays from 8-11 a.m. and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. For more information, call  236-9790.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Camden Area Christian Food Pantry -2017 Capital Campaign, 128 Mount Battie Street, Camden, Maine 04843. Donation can also be made on the CACFP website at: www.camdenareachristianfoodpantry.org.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

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