Open Table, the Concord and Maynard charity dedicated to fighting hunger and building healthy communities, in partnership with First Parish Concord, the Open Table Mobile Food Pantry began offering drive-through grocery distribution at First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, on Wednesday, December 9, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Moving forward, the Mobile Pantry will operate at First Parish on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month as long as the COVID emergency response to local food insecurity is needed.
All Concord and Carlisle residents and employees of Concord or Carlisle who cannot access food in their own communities due to their work schedule are eligible to participate. Onsite registration with Open Table is available for individuals and families when they first visit the mobile pantry.
The program was started as a drive-up pantry at Concord-Carlisle High School back in March by the director of Food and Nutrition Services for Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. Gaining Ground, a nonprofit organic farm in Concord, supplied the pantry with fresh produce from early April until the growing season came to an end. Open Table agreed to take over the program when both the location and the food source were no longer available.
“The Open Table Mobile Food Pantry has stepped up to ensure that food insecurity needs of local residents are being met,” said Jeanine Calabria, executive director, Open Table, Inc. “This partnership with First Parish Concord is particularly heartening in that it brings our organization back to its roots in the church where it was founded.”
“First Parish Concord is dedicated to social justice and to bettering the local community,” said First Parish Reverend Liz Weber, minister for pastoral care, who also serves on the Open Table Food Security Task Force. “Opening up First Parish for the Open Table Mobile Food Pantry is totally in keeping with our mission of practicing social justice.”
Open Table serves 23 towns in Middlesex County. However, not everyone who needs food is able to get to the Open Table food pantry in Maynard. The Open Table Mobile Food Pantry helps seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those with transportation constraints who find it difficult to get to a pantry or grocery store by making it easy for them to access the food they need in a convenient location. In addition to the Concord location, the mobile pantry provides regular distributions in Hudson and pop-up distributions in other locations as needed.