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Groton Steps Into the Breach When Charitable Food Service Falters

Two members of the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach loaded COA Director Shelp’s vehicle with fresh fruit and  non-perishables and have arranged for frozen and fresh food to be delivered Thursday.


When Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Shut Down, Two Food Pantries Were Established In Groton Within Hours
by Connie Sartini
Council on Aging Director Kathy Shelp addressed the firsthand fluidity of the COVID-19 consequences and its impact on Groton. “Unexpected to the COA, Loaves and Fishes Food pantry temporarily closed their doors in order to minimize the health risks to their staff and volunteers. Within two hours of that news this community formed a coalition to fill the void,” Shelp said.
     Groton Council on Aging announced a community-wide collaboration to address the needs of the Groton community. On Friday, April 3, Loaves and Fishes food pantry had to temporarily close their doors. The Council on Aging, Friends of Groton Elders, Groton-Dunstable Regional School District, Groton Food Project, and Commissioner of Trust Funds have formed a coalition to address the needs of our residents by establishing two food pantries in Groton.
    COA Food Pantry and Services
     The Council on Aging will have a pantry available to residents 60 years and older. Hours will be by appointment, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Or call, 978-448-1170 or email to make an appointment. Already donations are coming in to the Council on Aging. Christian Union Church in West Groton donated their stockpile of food, originally intended for their St. Patrick’s Community Dinner - including all the ingredients, and the corned beef that was frozen when the event was canceled. 
     Expert seamstresses Jan Dillon, Judy McDermott and Jill McCaffrey are providing facemasks for Groton residents who need them.
     Two members of the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach loaded Shelp’s vehicle with fresh fruit and other non-perishables and have arranged for frozen and fresh food to be delivered on Thursday.
     Shelp added that the Salvation Army will be sending 50 four-day emergency boxes to the Center as well. And the Greater Boston Food Bank is scheduled to make a delivery to the Center later this week.
     Shelp said that a number of parents of school age kids have stepped up and volunteered to do shopping or seniors.         She stressed, “The Center’s Meals on Wheels program from the Center will continue its usual schedule.”
How Can You Help?
• Food donations: The Council on Aging will receive non-perishable donations at The Groton Center, 163 W Main Street. There is a bin by the front door for drop off and deliveries can be made at any time. All items will be sterilized before they come in the building and there will be no interaction with staff.
• If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Center for this program, please
make checks out to Friend of Groton Elders with COVID-19 in the memo and mail to: Friends of Groton Elders, PO Box 289, West Groton, MA 01472
Groton Dunstable Regional School District Food Pantry
Groton-Dunstable Regional School District will have a second food pantry site at Middle School South in the gymnasium. The pantry will be open every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for grocery pick-ups. A team of GDRSD employees with masks and gloves will bring out bags of food for community members who need food support. Community members do not need to have students in our school system. For more information and details about pick-up, contact Katie Novak at
    The District is thrilled to partner with the Groton Senior Center, the Groton Neighborhood Food Project, the Community Children’s Fund, and the Commissioners of Trust Funds to continue the amazing work that Loaves & Fishes has provided to the communities of Groton and Dunstable.
• How Can You Help?
Food Donations: If you would like to drop off any non-perishable foods to our community food pantry, you can drop off at Middle School South, 344 Main Street, between 8-9:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. There will be signs leading to the drop-off area. GDRSD staff members will be outside, ready to accept donations. All items will be wiped down with sanitizing wipes before creating grocery bags for our community members.
GDRSD has set up a COVID-19 Food Fund and checks may be sent c/o GDRSD, 344 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450.
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