Wallingford resident leads paper bag donation to local food pantry

WALLINGFORD — After learning that a local food pantry needed help, Margaret Boland sprang into action.

“During this time of uncertainty, the Cheshire Food Pantry has seen a dramatic increase in usage,” said an April 2020 article in the Cheshire Herald. “The Pantry is asking all local businesses that have an excess of new and unused reusable bags to donate what they can to the facility.”

Boland, a Masonicare resident at Ashlar Village, an independent and assisted living facility in Wallingford, saw the article and had the idea to donate the facility’s paper bags.

“At that time, we were having our meals delivered to our doorsteps,” Boland said. “So I put up signs around all the doors entering the building saying ‘please save your brown paper bags for use at the food bank. “”

Boland said she was immediately overwhelmed by the response from her peers, as they weren’t allowed to reuse the bags at the facility. Since 2020, Boland has donated 45,000 bags, returning around 700 on each trip to the pantry.

A group of women help her collect, sort and deliver the bags to the pantry, which has made the process fun and enjoyable.

Bags help the pantry distribute meals and necessities to customers.

“It was awesome,” said Kerry Walsh, general manager of the pantry. “We put the ad in the paper and she quickly realized and set up the link to reuse, recycle and help the community instead of all those bags going to waste. It was a great idea, I was so excited.

The Cheshire Food Pantry is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., by appointment only.

Donations can be made from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Donor Lobby.

Boland said she often encourages her five children to help out in the community as well, especially during the pandemic.

“I’m used to doing this kind of work,” she says.

“It’s a good thing to do. It makes you realize how you would feel if you were in that position. It helps you to be lucky not to have problems like that.

[email protected]: @faith_williams2

Ethel J. Montes