INDIAN ISLAND, Maine — Despite some recent renovations and the promise of a new roof during the weekend, the shelves are bare in the food pantry that serves this close-knit community.
“We sent out the last bag we had earlier this week,” said Rose Scribner, director of the Indian Women’s Mission Center. “We are empty — completely empty.”
Scribner said on Thursday that more than 100 families, both on and off the island, are hoping the pantry can help them set a Thanksgiving table. But beyond the pressure of the coming holiday feast, she said, households throughout the area are hard-pressed daily to make ends meet.
The Indian Women’s Mission Center typically distributes food, used clothing and other necessities to about 180 families, Scribner said. Since early summer, more than 400 families have approached the center for assistance, she said.
“Our island families get top priority,” Scribner said. “But whoever comes here, Indian or not, we give them what we can.”
Donations to the community food pantry usually come in from individuals, charitable groups and other food distribution sites in the area, Scribner said. But the recent economic downturn has reduced donations to a trickle just as more local households are finding it harder to get by.
Scribner, a widow who has run the Indian Women’s Mission Center out of her home as a volunteer for the past 15 years, said it’s not unusual for her to give away food from her own cupboards when supplies in the community pantry are low. But now, she said, the dire economic situation shows no sign of letting up and she’s hoping more donations will make it possible to help more families in this time of need.
The Indian Women’s Mission Center, affiliated with the island’s St. Ann’s Catholic Church, recently used a grant from the Steven and Tabitha King Foundation to renovate space in Scribner’s home for use as an office. The small garage next door, where food and other donations are stored, is scheduled to get a new roof and some new shelving this weekend, courtesy of the local Knights of Columbus council.
All that’s needed now, Scribner said, is for local individuals and groups to contribute what they can. Nonperishable foods as well as frozen turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples can be dropped off at the mission center after calling Scribner at 827-0230.
Checks should be made out to the Indian Women’s Mission Center and mailed to 19 West St., Indian Island, Old Town 04468.