This past Sunday, most of us were busy cleaning up the snow that Mother Nature gifted us over the weekend. While we were grumbling about the ice, the staff at Wiscasset Ford had already cleaned up their own driveways, and started in at the parking lot at their work, to prepare for their first annual food pantry.
I got to Wiscasset on Sunday morning, with my Healthy Lincoln County van loaded with apples, Lysol wipes, and some odds and ends I had collected for the event. When I stepped into the showroom, I stopped in my tracks, mouth agape, staring at the amazing amount of food that Wiscasset Ford had purchased. What I brought did not make a dent; in fact, it barely filled one of the tables.
By 9:30 a.m., people were lining up outside the building, in anticipation of the pantry staple items advertised for families in need. At 10 a.m., the doors opened, and the first people that came into the showroom stopped in awe, just as I did, gaping at the sheer amount of food available. An entire table was filled with cereal, pancake syrup, mix, and another table with condiments, spaghetti sauce, pasta, and bread from Panera.
There were cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and to the delight of many parents, tables dedicated to snacks such as crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks, canned fruit, cereal bars; all the things that growing children beg for at the grocery store. They eat us out of house and home, and nowadays that saying couldn’t be more true, what with the rising cost of everything.
As people headed for the exit there was more to see, like shirts donated from Big Al and boxes filled with toys for girls and boys from the Dollar Store. Helpful hands were carrying boxes for people, loading them into their cars, and making sure my packet of winter resources landed in those boxes.
I heard a number of people ask, “How are you able to do this?” followed by, “Is this something just Wiscasset Ford is doing?” The simple answer was yes, because they wanted to do something for their community. They wanted to help people in a practical way, by purchasing items that were getting increasingly more expensive for people to get. As a team, they decided to have a big pantry event on a Sunday, to reach the families that might not be able to make it to a food pantry during the week.
The whole event was planned in just under four weeks, with the team buying items and storing those items in their showroom until the big day. They collected boxes from the Bath food pantry, borrowed tables from the Wiscasset Community Center, and word started to spread about the event. I got involved to help publicize, and owe a lot of the great turnout to the work of School Resource Officer Barnes with the Wiscasset Police Department. He personally made sure the flyers went out to the families at Wiscasset Middle High School, and hand delivered a few to those who needed it the most.
That’s how it happens, folks. Some of the greatest events take minimal planning, when you have the right team of people leading the charge. That “right team” was in full swing this past Sunday, and 90-plus families are feeling a bit more secure this holiday season thanks to their generosity and hard work.