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Give Back NH: New Hampshire Food Bank

A photo of Eileen Liponis standing in front of a window into a large storeroom.
Emily Quirk
/
NHPR
Eileen Liponis is the executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment spotlighting New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition.

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment spotlighting New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition. What follows is a transcript of this week's edition, which profiles the New Hampshire Food Bank.


Eileen Liponis (Executive Director, NHFB): I think heading into the holiday season, everybody is particularly vulnerable this year, especially with energy prices. So I think folks are going to be making tough choices that we don't want them to make.

My name is Eileen Leptons and I'm the executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. The New Hampshire Food Bank has been around since 1984. We are a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities and we're also one of 200 food banks under contract with Feeding America.

"Hunger knows no seasonality, it's going to be here past the holidays."
Eileen Liponis

As New Hampshire's only food bank, we run a hub and spoke model where we are the hub, and our partner agencies are the spokes throughout the state.

In response to COVID, we wanted to ease some of the pressure on our agencies, so we really picked up the pace on our mobile food pantries.

Mobile food pantries first entail a large parking lot. It's got to be empty for us. We set up lanes, and on one end of the parking lot we set up four stations where each car can pull up, and receive the items that we're distributing that day.

20211105_103943.jpg
Emily Quirk
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Stacey Garron (left) coordinates a group of volunteers at a recent mobile food pantry in Manchester

The team at the New Hampshire Food Bank is really incredible; everyone's mission-driven, and we really are out there making sure that nobody has to go hungry in New Hampshire.

Stacey Garron (Agency Relations Coordinator): So we come out and we service here in Manchester, up upwards of 500 cars. Well, five hundred families, excuse me.

We're out here today with fresh produce, dry goods. And today we had a nice delivery of eggs. So that's awesome. We don't get that too much. So we have a nice farm that Eileen coordinated with, so we could have some eggs today.

Liponis: We also have volunteers that take the intake from the clients. All we need to know is what town are you from? How many folks are in your family and how many families are you picking up for?

20211105_104620.jpg
Emily Quirk
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Mobile food pantries are held in large parking lots throughout the state. This one has the added benefit of taking place under a large solar array (Comcast, Manchester)

Joanne (Volunteer): I'm at the food drive here helping people out, and I live in Londonderry. If it wasn't for the food bank people like this that's in these rows here wouldn't have extra food on their table— and it's because of the food bank that they're able to do this.

It's a blessing. If it wasn't for them, the people I help would be really struggling. And I do it for them, not for me. I live alone, so I've been blessed. The Lord has been keeping me healthy and it's a pleasure to be able to help people.

Liponis: Hunger knows no seasonality, it's going to be here past the holidays. We are always looking for donations, we are always thinking ahead this holiday season — I think is going to be particularly difficult and I think this winter is going to be particularly difficult with energy prices the way they are. Folks make difficult choices whether to heat or eat, and we don't want them to have to do that.

What keeps us driven at the New Hampshire Food Bank is the fact that we know we're making a difference — and we make a difference every day. So you can make a difference too, no matter how big or small — whether it's a donation or it's volunteering.

We're all on this together. And that's the reason why every day at the New Hampshire Food Bank, we are committed to making sure no one goes hungry in New Hampshire.

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HOW TO HELP: The New Hampshire Food Bank is supported by donation and volunteers. You can find more information about donating here, and about volunteering here.