By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON -- The more donations of money and food the Canton Church and Community Program Food Pantry raises between now and the end of April, the larger the contribution they will get from a Rhode Island foundation.
The Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation Food Challenge will make a contribution to the C&CP pantry, up to $35,000, based on local contributions through April.
The need is greater than ever, according to CC&CP Director Cathy Mathews said.
“We’ve had incredible growth,” Mathews said. When she started running the program in June 2011 “we had 70 families – probably 200 people” the pantry was helping regularly. “Now we have 280 families – that’s 600 or 700 people,” she said.
She says she thinks the increase in clients has shown itself because people in need are reaching the point where they are overcoming any shame they might have felt about asking for help.
“They finally realize they don’t have to be ashamed to come here and get the help they need,” she said.
And so she is asking the community to give, especially now, while the foundation is offering to boost the amount of money they will have available for food help.
“Even if you can only give one can of soup, please consider doing it now,” she asks.
Alan Shawn Feinstein of Cranston, R.I., the foundation’s originator, says that “for the past 15 years, I have been giving away $1 million each year to anti-hunger agencies throughout the country. This year, I am doing it again.”
He says he believes in helping those in need, and that contributing to local agencies and basing the contribution on what local people can raise brings more people into the effort.
For more information on the campaign, on the Church and Community Program, or on the help they can provide, call Mathews at 386-3534 or visit the pantry at 7 Main St.