At the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester, inventory is high and spirits are up. Just ask volunteer Bob Lodico.
“Every time I leave here I have a good feeling. I don’t think in five and a half or six years I’ve left here without feeling up, feeling positive, just feeling good about the people and about myself.”
Lodico is a staple at the food bank. He’s volunteered for five years, after retiring from a career in education.
But as Executive Director Mel Gosselin knows, there’s another constant at the food bank.
Once the rush of holiday giving lets up, the shelves begin to get empty.
“This time of year we’re in a pretty good inventory position because of those big drives, but we work through this inventory very quickly, particularly in the winter months. Need increases and a lot of folks are making those hard choices between whether they should heat or eat.”
That’s why Gosselin is reminding people that the need for donations goes through the year.
Crates in the food bank warehouse are filled with cans and boxes of food. They’ll soon be shipped out to one of the more than 400 food pantries and soup kitchens across the state.
The food bank moves about 80,000 pounds a day during this time of year, but depending on inventory, that can go down to 20,000 pounds, which Gosselin says does not meet a demand that hasn’t tailed off since the recession.
“In fact, we doubled since 2006, and we anticipate the need is going to be increased, so currently we’re serving 1 in 9 in New Hampshire, right here in Manchester, 1 in 4 kids are in need, and that’s more per capita than the city of Boston.”
The food bank does not receive public funding, relying entirely on corporate, foundation and individual donations.