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Hampstead’s North East Social Action Program looking to restock pantry with ‘A Can for the Van'

Manchester Motors will donate the use of a van to NESAP's A Can for the Van drive to collect nonperishables for their food pantry.
Manchester Motors will donate the use of a van to NESAP's A Can for the Van drive to collect nonperishables for their food pantry. (Courtesy Photo / Manchester Motors)

The North East Social Action Program in Hampstead is looking to restock the shelves in their food pantry and collect donations for their summer feeding program for kids with their “A Can for the Van” drive.

They will be collecting nonperishable food at Matthew’s Tire & Auto Services on Hampstead’s Main Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 16 and 17.

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Manchester Motors donated the use of the van, which will be decked out in a banner and other decorations. When the drive has been completed, the vehicle will make it easy to transport all that has been collected back to NESAP’s headquarters.

“Your donation will help feed a neighbor in need and keep the pantry stocked throughout our Children’s summer Food Program,” NESAP wrote in a news release.

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“A Can for the Van” can only accept nonperishable items, though NESAP is able to accept some refrigerated items through their normal food pantry donations. The pantry is open for donations of food, cleaning supplies, and personal care items from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For the summer food program for kids, oatmeal and cereal or lunch items like peanut butter and jelly and canned tuna are in demand. In general, items including canned fruit, vegetables and meat, Hamburger Helper, soup, dish detergent and bar soap are in high demand through the pantry. More information is available at www.nesapinc.org.

As with many nonprofits, NESAP is seeing more need in the community, both for food pantry items and financial assistance, Executive Director Donn Dietrich said.

“Because of COVID, we’re at a low point, so we definitely need to get some food in,” he said. Moving forward, he worries that evictions or the end of other relief programs will mean “the tsunami is coming.”

After items are collected by NESAP, they let them sit without contact for a certain period of time to ensure they are not carrying any virus on their surfaces before volunteers sort and prepare them for distribution.

NESAP operates both a food pantry and a thrift store that goes toward funding their mission. Its hours for shoppers are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They are accepting drop-off donations from 8 a.m. to noon. on days they are open.

The organization has been around since 1984 when a group of local churches got together to create a central place to coordinate their charitable efforts.

“We couldn’t do it without the local community,” Dietrich said, thanking particularly their partners in Manchester Motors and Tire & Auto Services.

NESAP can be reached at their office 443-244-1496, their website www.nesapinc.org or on Facebook.

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