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Walmart helps local pantry fight hunger

ITEM PHOTO BY ADAM SWIFT
Charles Rukwaro, executive director of Good Hope, Inc., and Christopher Buchanan, public affairs director for Walmart, kick off the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign.

By ADAM SWIFT

LYNNFIELD — The closing of several food banks in Lynn over the past two years has increased the need to help hungry local families.

The Good Hope food pantry, in the basement of the Calvary Christian Church, has picked up much of that slack, seeing about a dozen new families registering for its services every week. The strain had started to show for the pantry, which hands out nearly 28,000 pounds of food per week, but that’s when Walmart and the Greater Boston Food Bank stepped in with several grants to help pay for some major upgrades.

“Our goal is to always serve people in need and not ever send anyone away,” said Charles Rukwaro, executive director of Good Hope, Inc. “But our space is limited.”

Thanks to a $16,400 grant from the Walmart Foundation, combined with an $8,800 grant from the Greater Boston Food Bank, Good Hope was able to make some needed upgrades to help make the most of its pantry space.

Two new industrial refrigerators, two industrial freezers, 12 stainless steel shelving units, a pallet jack, two U-boats, and six stainless steel tables have greatly expanded the pantry’s ability to store perishable food.

“It’s made our work easier to serve more families and for us not to feel overwhelmed,” said Kristin Klopotoski, Good Hope’s program director for the food pantry.

Thursday, volunteers from Walmart were on hand at Good Hope to help distribute food and to kick off the retail giant’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign in Eastern Massachusetts.

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“We’re very active in the community and we give to organizations in the Boston area, New England, and the world,” said Christopher Buchanan, public affairs director for Walmart. “This is a nice one today because it is for a hunger relief organization. This is a good event to be a part of and to get the word out about Fight Hunger. Spark Change.”

Good Hope board member Michael Satterwhite noted that the expanded capacity of the food pantry helps the nonprofit achieve its goal of helping more people in Lynnfield, Lynn, and across the North Shore.

“I’m very excited about the possibility of helping more people,” said Satterwhite. “We are in a position to expand and we want to be a part of the community and work together to help.”

Rukwaro said the food pantry is only one aspect of how Good Hope helps those in need locally and across the globe.

A 5K in Lynnfield on Saturday, June 3 will raise funds for the Digging Deep for Africa program.

“With the proceeds from the last three races, we have funded the digging of five wells in three countries in Africa,” said Rukwaro.

Other Good Hope programs include providing eyeglasses for those in need in Africa and Central America and paying for summer camp opportunities for children of local prison inmates.

 

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