The Island Food Pantry helped 510 families with food assistance this winter, according to project coordinator Armen Hanjian. There were a record number of visits to the facility, representing a substantial increase in need over last year.
According to the food pantry records, there were 2,650 visits this winter, compared to 2,050 the winter before, an increase of 29 percent. During one week last March, 174 families visited the food pantry, the most ever in a single month. An average of 102 families visited each week, up from 81 last year.
The Rev. Helen Oliver founded the food pantry at the United Methodist Church in 1981. The food pantry operates from October to mid-April. There is no paid staff, and more than 60 volunteers help the operation.