November 27, 2022


Qualified food specialists

Franklin Memorial Hospital holds open house for new food pantry

3 min read

The newly renovated Greenwood Center is the new home to Franklin Memorial Hospital’s food pantry. The open house took place on Thursday, Nov. 3. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital held an open house for their new food pantry at the Greenwood Center on Thursday, Nov. 3. The Greenwood Center was renovated over the last year to be the new home for their on-site food pantry.

Hospital Chief Operating Officer Barbara Sergio stated that the purpose of the move was to stage the food pantry closer to the hospital, making it more accessible to both clients and staff. “That was our first thought; to move it closer on site and to utilize the space better,” she said.

Stocked with healthy options, the food pantry is accessible to staff and patients who are referred through food insecurity screenings. Originally starting with pediatric practices, FMH expanded the program to adult family practices to provide emergency food bags.

According to Director of Healthy Community Coalition [HCC] LeeAnn Lavoie, “MaineHealth went a step further. We opened a food pantry for our patients. It is not just any food pantry, it’s healthy food.”

Franklin Memorial Hospital’s new food pantry is fully stocked and ready to receive clients as of Thursday, Nov 3. Originally used for storage, the space was overhauled to be brighter and more open. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Previously located at an office on Wilton Road, the pantry was the first hospital-based food pantry in the state of Maine and features a client choice model, which allows clients to “shop” for items instead of receiving pre-selected items.

HCC Program Coordinator and Pantry Manager Erica Ingrisano believes this model helps reduce waste and changes people’s perceptions of food pantries. “We’re trying to take the stigma away from being a pantry,” she noted.

The pantry receives donations from the Good Shepard Food Bank, along with local farms such as Rustic Root Farm of Farmington, Berry Fruit Farm of Livermore Falls, and Emery Farm of Wayne. The pantry also utilizes food grown in the Hope Harvest Garden, a volunteer-based garden located on the hospital campus.

The hospital worked with Herbert Construction, who renovated the space to be better suited for the food pantry. Project Manager Tim Mancine stated the project took roughly three months to complete.

“We took out a few walls and made the space larger and more open, like you see it now,” Mancine said. “And added a new interior wall as needed, new doors, new finishes, so new flooring, some rearranging of the sprinklers, new LED lighting, things of that nature.”

Mancine also credited their subcontractors IEC Electrical, Mason Mechanical, Royal Flooring, and Central Maine Drywall for their contributions. “I’m proud of the work [Scott Day, Superintendent of Herbert Construction] and the other subcontractors have done, and I think it turned out really nice,” he commented.

Herbert Construction celebrated the day with a $5,000 donation to the Healthy Community Coalition.

Herbert Construction donates $5,000 to the HCC on Thursday, Nov 3. From left to right, HCC Director LeeAnn Lavoie, Project Manager Tim Mancine, Superintendent of Herbert Construction Scott Day and Franklin Memorial COO Barbara Sergio. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FMH plans to host more classes at the location and teach their clients how to cook healthier meals. “We have a classroom where we can teach people how to cook the food they’re getting here, which is really great,” Lavoie said.

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