Non-food need? Not a problem: Bath church launches pantry for personal items

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BATH — The city and surrounding communities, which already benefit from the Bath Food Pantry, now also have the Little Flock Non-Food Bank to help those with needs for personal-care products.

The food pantry, meanwhile, which was seeking a new home, will instead be able to stay put. It is not affiliated with the non-food bank.

The non-food bank, which opened three months ago at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 889 High St., offers items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, shaving materials, dish and laundry soap, and paper products, as well as hats and mittens during the colder months.

Roxanne Profenno, the church clerk, said last week she came up with the idea of the bank at a board meeting, when the pastor asked those gathered to think about things they could do to help the community.

“The Lord just inspired me with this thought of a non-food bank, because there are a lot of churches and places doing food banks, which are wonderful, but … folks need these other things that are just as important,” Profenno said. “… So I just started thinking, what if we helped them out with those types of things.”

She added that “it’s an effort being put forth by the entire church, not just me. … We’re all working together.”

The “Little Flock” name is a nod to the church’s small group, Profenno said.

The bank is open every second and fourth Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; clients are allowed one visit a month, and must provide proof of residency in Bath, Arrowsic, Georgetown, Phippsburg, West Bath or Woolwich.

The bank is funded by 10 percent of the church budget.

“Anyone in need in this area, we would welcome them to come, but we also are looking for donations,” Profenno said. “We desperately need donations.”

Donated items can be dropped off at the bank when it is open. Monetary donations can be sent to Little Flock Non-Food Bank, P.O. Box 543, Bath, ME 04530. Those wanting to donate, or who have questions about doing so, can reach Profenno at 865-3401 or 632-0905, or the church at 443-9333.

Profenno credited Kimberly Gates, executive director of the Bath Area Food Bank – of which the food pantry is a part – for helping the non-food bank get off the ground.

“She’s been very supportive,” Profenno said.

Food pantry stays put

Gates has had some kind support at her end, too. 

The recent sale of the Neighborhood United Church of Christ at 150 Congress Ave. meant that the food pantry, based there for more than 14 years, would have to move.

But the New Meadows Childcare & Learning Center, one of the building’s tenants for eight years, purchased the property last month, and it is allowing the pantry to remain.

“I know so many of my present clients were really worried about the possibility of us having to close,” Gates wrote Feb. 11 in an email, adding that “thanks to the Day Care … that did not happen! We didn’t miss even one shift!!”

Trisha Charbonneau, one of the owners of the building and business, said Feb. 13 that the property is serving as a community building for tenants, “because the need is really there, and it’s a large building. It’s a beautiful facility. … I think that it serves a better need for the community, having (the food pantry) stay here.”

The pantry is moving to the back of the building, which provides a more private space, Charbonneau said.

The Neighborhood UCC has been operating at a temporary site, the Minnie Brown Center at 906 Washington St., and is planning to move downtown, according to its website, faithinbath.org.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781 -3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Bath has launched a “non-food bank” to distribute items like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, dish soap, hats and mittens. Roxanne Profenno, the church clerk, center, came up with the idea for the bank. She is accompanied by her husband, Bob Profenno, left, and church pastor the Rev. Harry Gomez.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.