South Portland church closes; Food pantry moving

5:50 PM, Nov 15, 2013   |    comments
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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Some changes are coming to a location on Route 1 in South Portland that has housed a church for nearly 75 years.

In the basement of St. John's Church the South Portland Food Cupboard has operated rent-free for 15 years. But the church has shut down and the cupboard is in the process of being moved across town. With rent and utilities to pay it will cost a lot more to run the operation. The added expenses come at a time when the cupboard is serving more families than ever. Volunteers are expecting the numbers to keep increasing. This month food stamp benefits were cut for millions of americans enrolled in the SNAP program.
"It's just starting. People are getting notices of the cuts. Some people's cuts won't happen until January but some people already feeling it", said Sybil Riemensnider, Executive Director of the cupboard.
The good news is the new location at 130 Thadeus Street will have a lot more space to store food and to serve clients.
As for the church, the building will likely be coming down to pave way for new development.
"Potentially bring in a retail location to that part of the city we don't have anything specific from the developer in terms of plans or even an application so we're just kind of waiting", said Jon Jennings, the city's Economic Development Director.
While there is no timetable for changes to the property or church building, there is one for the pantry. The volunteers who run it expect to be in their new location by the first week of December.

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