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Catholic Charities Maine Awards Matthew 25 Grant to St. Therese Lisieux Food Closet in Sanford

July 29, 2022

Sanford, Maine – Bishop Robert Deeley presented Catholic Charities Maine’s (CCM) Parish Social Ministry’s Matthew 25 Award on Saturday, July 23, to St. Therese Lisieux Food Closet in Sanford, Maine. The award includes a $5,000 grant, which the Food Closet will use to “fill in gaps” by buying items like meat and milk to supplement allocations from the federal government (US FDA).

Every Thursday from noon to 2:00 p.m., the Food Closet, located at St. Ignatius Gymnasium on Riverside Street, provides food to those experiencing food insecurity in the local community. The ministry serves approximately 2,200 individuals a year, regardless of faith affiliation. Many are veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, and the unhoused staying at the neighborhood shelter.

“This small team of hardworking people, led by Barbara Russell, began by asking what the local community needed, and they have always found ways to provide it on their own.” said Frank Daggett, director of CCM’s Parish Social Ministry. “Their work embodies what Matthew 25 is all about: Serving those in need and finding joy in doing this work in service of the Lord.”

“Everybody is down on their luck at some point. We have a great community here that is willing to contribute, often anonymously,” said Barbara Russell, who took the lead on applying for grant.

The Food Closet is growing to keep pace with community needs, according to Father Wilfred Labbe, pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Limerick and St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Sanford. “Some of the Mathew 25 funding will be used help St. Therese Lisieux Food Closet move to a larger space and store more food within the parish center of St. Ignatius.”

Designed to support parishes in their efforts to serve vulnerable people in need, regardless of their faith affiliation, Matthew 25 grants help parishes expand the capacity to serve more people within a current direct service ministry or to help develop a new social ministry. Parishes across the state of Maine are invited to apply annually for the grant awards.

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