October 20, 2021

Food closet in Dexter faces closing> Volunteers discouraged by lack of assistance

DEXTER — The Town Council learned Thursday evening that the Dexter Community Food Closet will cease its operation Oct. 1 unless someone steps forward to continue the project.

Robert and Pauline Staples of Dexter have volunteered their time operating the food cupboard for about four years, but no longer want to continue the service. “It’s just too much,” said Pauline Staples on Friday.

The couple have been unable to find anyone willing to help with the community service, unless they are paid. “You get discouraged after awhile,” she admitted.

The First Baptist Church has provided space in the church for the food closet in the past, but that will discontinue Oct. 1, according to Maurice Neal, a church representative.

Staples told the council it was difficult for her and her husband to make the frequent trips to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Lewiston, where the food is obtained. Penquis CAP also contributes to the closet and Bud’s Shop ‘n Save donates bread. The food for the closet is purchased with funds donated by local organizations and from money collected from canisters that are displayed in many local stores, she said.

Many families receive assistance from the food bank, according to Staples. She said 176 families were using the facility monthly. “Every week, there’s more,” she added.

Linda Clukey, who handles welfare cases for the town, told the council Thursday that she is concerned about the elderly who won’t likely apply for general assistance, but who would go to the food cupboard for their needs. Clukey said some of the people who receive the food from the closet would not qualify for general assistance.

Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson said he hoped that some club or organization would offer to continue this valuable service.

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