Page 9 - NOV2023
P. 9

                November 2023
Bristol Community Services:
A Staple During the Holiday Season
Page 9
 By BRittany amalfi
The holidays are the time of the year when there’s a huge need to give back to the commu- nity. Fortunately, the Bristol Food Pantry out of Bristol Community Services goes above and beyond. There is quite a history of the food pantry and what they do around the holiday season.
It all started a little over 50 years ago by Susan Colby and Diane Payne, who saw a need in the community. They started col- lecting food and clothes, and for 45 years, they handed food out to those in need from The Lit- tle Shop on North Main Street. Things took a remarkable turn about ten years ago when they moved Bristol Community Ser- vices to Pleasant Street in Bristol.
They serve five towns, and income-qualified residents can come once a month for food as- sistance, although Colby couldn’t
stress enough that they would never turn anyone away if there’s a need. In fact, Colby told me, “People should never hesitate if they need emergency assistance.”
Before COVID-19, Bristol Community Services was servic- ing about 75 families a month, and most of them were from right here in Bristol. The pandemic did cause a decrease in servicing fam- ilies, but over the past few years, the number has definitely risen. And, of course, their store is well- stocked with seasonal items and more!
As the holidays approach, the food pantry is a staple in the com- munity as they give back to fam- ilies who would like to enjoy the happy time of year. They are cur- rently taking names of food pan- try families for their Thanksgiving Baskets. People who are interested in receiving a Thanksgiving Bas- ket can call the center, or they can
come right in. People can come to pick them up on November 20th at the center. The food pantry receives the turkeys from the NH Foodbank, and if anyone is inter- ested in donating Thanksgiving food like boxed stuffing, canned goods, cranberry, or potato mix, feel free to stop by the center!
Diane told me that people will
usually come in and donate, and they are so appreciative of every- one who takes the time to help and give back to the community. Generally, they are looking for non-perishable items to donate to their families, like canned goods, peanut butter, jelly, canned meat like chicken and tuna, spaghetti sauce, pasta, pasta mixes, and
rice. Other than canned goods and other boxed products, Payne also informed me that they’re also always on the lookout for dessert-type foods like mixes, pan- cake mix, waffle mix, and syrups, as well as snacks and drinks like gummies, crackers, granola bars, water, juice, soda, hot cocoa, and more. And condiments are always welcome as well! They also accept toiletries, paper goods, cleaning products, and healthcare items. The people of this community have really rallied around the food pantry and have donated so much. “It’s so nice to see people donate the whole nine yards to help out this community,” Diane told me.
Bristol Community Services will also begin taking applications for the Secret Santa program. Children fourteen and under in the Newfound School District are welcome to participate!
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