Island Food Pantry reports fewer families visited, but more often

In this file photo, Island Food Pantry coordinator Armen Hanjian, in October, 2009, joined by children from the Hebrew Center, with bags of groceries ready for distribution. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Island Food Pantry (IFP), a program that provides food for the hungry, issued its annual report for the 2011-2012 year. There were not any significant changes in the year-end figures compared to last year, but the way it got there was a little different. “We had fewer families but they came in more often.” Armen Hanjian The Pantry coordinator said.

According to the report, “it was a curious year.” Expecting more consistency the group reported that on one day they had 12 visits, yet on another day 89 visits. They had 8% fewer families, yet with 2,740 visits for the year they equaled last year’s total visits.

The Pantry reported a record income of $98,075 up $2,730 over last year and record expenditures of $95,345, $2,390 over last year. The group’s endowment fund income made up the difference between the higher expenses and lower income.

523 families were helped during their fiscal year, representing nearly 1,000 people including at least 200 children. One hundred seventy eight families came only once or twice (last year, 160) and 212 came six or more times (last year, 227). Thirty six indicated they were employed (last year, 50). One hundred fifty one stated they were unemployed. Three hundred twenty four gave no answer regarding employment. There were an average 105 visits a week. The Pantry provided granola bars to all the public schools for breakfast supplements.

In its 31 years, IFP has expanded from a one-person effort to a ministry including over 70 volunteers. The report points out that the Pantry is supported by all the faith communities on the Island. The program receives no government food or money. Mr. Hanjian said that the group relies on contributions. “We have not sponsored a fundraiser in a long time.” It has no paid staff. Sometimes volunteers can be seen outside of local markets asking shoppers to donate food items.

The Pantry received a grant from Bank of America for $20,000 (not part of the above statistics) to enable the Pantry to acquire a vehicle that will be used to pick up and drop off their purple food collection boxes and food that is donated from schools and other organizations.

Persons may come to the Pantry once every two weeks on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 2-4 pm, from mid-October to mid-April, but even after they close for the season they will take emergency calls for help. Mr. Hanjian said they try to have a Portuguese translator most days they are open.

To see the report in its entirety, click here.

For more information call 508-696-4764 or visit their website at