Building to house food pantry in Brewer

Posted July 17, 2013, at 9:13 a.m.

HERMON, Maine — A local nonprofit agency announced on June 28 it has entered into a contract to purchase commercial property in downtown Brewer to open a food pantry for city residents and those in nearby Eddington.

The property acquisition marks a milestone in the Brewer Area Food Pantry advisory committee efforts, led by OHI, to open another food pantry by Nov. 1 in the city.

The Brewer Christian Food Cupboard closed in August 2012.

 OHI, a Hermon-based agency that supports adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness and has offices at Twin City Plaza, recently contracted for the purchase of the vacant former Boomer Fitness building and property at 222 North Main St. for an undisclosed amount.

 “This was our biggest hurdle to date; now we can really start rolling,” said Brenda Leavitt, OHI project manager. “We’ve had a name, logo, mission and vision for months.  Finding a suitable location at a reasonable price was quite the challenge. Epstein Properties and the city of Brewer Economic Development Department were instrumental in the whole process.”

 Although committee members have been establishing contact with area businesses to solicit support, donations and funding for the Brewer Area Food Pantry, Leavitt said the group will increase those efforts now that a location has gone under contract.

 “We’ve sort of been in a holding pattern until securing a location,” she explained.  “Our initial plan was to tap into all the same resources as the previous food cupboard; unfortunately, we’re finding a number of area businesses redistributed their donations and giving after the closure.  We plan to leave no stone uncovered, though, particularly in Brewer.”

 Still, new opportunities have developed in the past 10 months since people served by the previous food cupboard were left with few options and none within city limits. Manna Ministries Inc., The Rock Church in Bangor, the Brewer Community Service Council and Camden National Bank in Brewer, for example, have pledged to support the Brewer Area Food Pantry.  Each also has a representative on the committee.

 Individuals or businesses who wish to provide financial support, donations of food or equipment, or volunteers to help sustain the Brewer Area Food Pantry, call Leavitt at 848-5804, ext. 1208, or e-mail bleavitt@ohimaine.org.

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