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Manchester food pantry moves buildings, now seeking to fill shelves

A view of the former Manchester Police station on Long Lane on Friday, July 5. The nonprofit group Tree of Friends Foundation will be taking over the building.
A view of the former Manchester Police station on Long Lane on Friday, July 5. The nonprofit group Tree of Friends Foundation will be taking over the building. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

The Tree of Friends in Manchester is in the process of moving, but the nonprofit is not going far.

From its previous location at 3211 Main Street, Tree of Friends is in the process of moving just across the alley into the property at 3215 Long Lane, the former home of the Manchester Police Department.

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The building houses the organization’s food pantry, and it was important to the foundation that it maintain a location that is walkable from most of downtown Manchester.

Many members of the community have offered assistance to the foundation with their move. Right now their greatest need is for food donations, said volunteer Maureen Aversa. The summer months typically mean a downturn in the amount of donations, and that comes on top of the complications of moving locations to mean that they are in great need.

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To fill the new shelves of the pantry, Tree of Friends will be hosting an event July 12 starting at 6 p.m. The plan is to be back in service in the new location on Sunday, July 14.

Tree of Friends is asking the community to bring pantry and freezer donations. They will be giving tours of the new space and offering light refreshments. More information about the event is available through the organization’s Facebook page.

Some of the most needed items in the food pantry are canned tuna, chicken, ham and salmon; peanut butter and jelly; canned fruit and vegetables; ravioli, meatballs, pasta and pasta sauce; cereals, pancake mix and syrup; pasta roni; mashed potatoes; freezable meats and nonperishable soup.

Financial donations are also accepted.

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“Need continues to grow,” Aversa said. “We could really use community to come out in full force.”

The new space that houses the food pantry is leased to the Community Foundation of Carroll County, the parent organization of Tree of Friends, by the Town of Manchester. Beginning June 1, the lease runs for two years.

The Tree of Friends Foundation initially proposed the idea of moving into the old police station during the January meeting of the Manchester Mayor and Council. The Long Lane property has been unused for about two years, the Mayor and Council said at the meeting.

In the second year of the lease, town staff is authorized to start actively seeking a buyer for the property. This is something that all parties are aware of, said Town Administrator Steve Miller. If there isn’t interest int he property, there’s a possibility that the Community Foundation could look to renew the lease, he said.

The former location of the Tree of Friends Foundation was 3211 Main Street, adjacent to the fire hall.

Speaking at one of the council meetings, the president of the Manchester Volunteer Fire Company, said that they had had a wonderful relationship with the Tree of Friends, but the building at 3211 is getting old and the fire company is considering whether it should be demolished.

Miller, who is also a member of the fire company, said these considerations come as the fire company weighs whether they will need to add on to the existing fire station.

The mission of the Tree of Friends Foundation is to address humanitarian needs which are not currently being met or are under-served in the county. The food pantry operates every second and third Sunday during July and August from 2-4 p.m. The pantry will restart every-Sunday hours on Sept. 8 after Labor Day.

More information is available at www.treeoffriends.org.

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