The First Parish Newbury Food Pantry has grown from serving a single person in December 2015 to feeding 250 to 300 people each Friday. We are the largest all-volunteer food pantry in the Greater Newbury/ Newburyport area serving the communities of Newbury, Byfield, Newburyport, West Newbury, Salisbury, Rowley, Ipswich and Georgetown.
Summary and Key Facts (pdf)
The mission of the First Parish Newbury Food Pantry is to alleviate the impact of hunger in the greater Newbury/Newburyport community. We supply nutritional food at no cost to those struggling to feed themselves and their families and give residents a way to help their neighbors. We welcome our neighbors in need with compassion and respect.
The First Parish Newbury Food Pantry gratefully partners with several local organizations. The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) provides, at low cost, the majority of the food we distribute. Nourishing the North Shore (NNS) provides the pantry with fresh, locally grown produce. Pennies for Poverty assists us with volunteer recruiting.
Many local groups have held food and gift card drives and raised money to support our work alleviating hunger in our community. Our supporters include:
The Newburyport Lion’s Club
The Newbury Police
Triton High School-
Central Congregational Church
Old South Church
Main Street Congregational Church
First Religious Society
In total, 12 farms, 14 food businesses and 17 services organizations and churches have donated food for guests to offset shortages from Covid-19.
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and partners, we served over 10,200 guests in 2020 and delivered 60% of our orders to seniors and others lacking transportation. Nearly 50% of our guests reside in Newburyport, 26% in Newbury and the others in surrounding towns. 51% of our guests are seniors.
The First Parish Newbury Food Pantry (FPNFP) opened its doors to the community in December 2015 with just three volunteers and one guest recipient. Over the next twelve months in response to outreach efforts, the pantry expanded both its base of volunteers and the number of people served.
In August of 2016, the pantry was approved by the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) as a partner in the food distribution program. This approval helped the pantry expand to include more products, including frozen meats and other perishable goods. By the end of 2016, the pantry was serving approximately 100 households a week.
In 2017 the pantry partnered with Nourishing the North Shore (NNS) to provide fresh, locally grown produce for our clients. With their support, the pantry established an outside “farmers market” where, during the summer months, participants can select fresh vegetables and fruits. Also in 2017, Pennies for Poverty began helping recruit volunteers for the pantry and started a delivery and transport service to eliminate one of the biggest barriers to food security.
By the end of 2019, the pantry was serving approximately 150 households a week in the greater Newbury/Newburyport area. In January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 pandemic. For those already at risk for food insecurity, the impact was devastating. The number of people in need of food assistance increased dramatically requiring a redesign for pantry operation.
Because patrons could no longer safely enter the pantry, we developed an online ordering system and recruited volunteers to call patrons who didn’t have internet access or were uncomfortable ordering online. We also greatly expanded our delivery service for people who don’t have transportation or are medically vulnerable.
By the start of 2021 we were calling 120 internet limited people each week, delivering to about 100 households, and feeding 250-300 people each Friday.