Hardwick Area Food Pantry
Saint John The Baptist Episcopal church has a long, dedicated history with the Hardwick Area Food Pantry (HAFP). In the 1970s the food pantry was started at the suggestion of then Bishop Van Dyke, who recommended that the church provide food items to be given out by appointment. The items were stored on the second floor of the church and the operation was overseen by the Reverend Esther Brown, with help from a core of parishioners.
This continued through the 1980s, and by 1987, food was being stored in the attic and basement and was available most mornings. At this time, the pantry was also supported by other area churches. In 2000, the pantry became an unincorporated nonprofit; in 2004 it incorporated as in independent nonprofit 501(c)3. The pantry expanded the reach of those served, and with Hardwick, included the towns of Greensboro, Craftsbury, Walden, and Stannard.
In 2005, led by the Reverend Susan Tobias, the church received a number of grants and donations, as well as support from the Vermont Episcopal Diocese, to expand the sanctuary and add a separate building for the food pantry. This allowed the pantry to move out of the church and operate more efficiently and provide more offerings. The pantry had another large expansion in 2021 by adding the Craftsbury and Albany food shelves under the HAFP umbrella.
The Craftsbury and Albany food shelves had been started by small groups of dedicated volunteers to address food insecurity that was a direct result of the pandemic. It was soon realized that this was an ongoing problem, and that both of these groups would need to continue their efforts. By joining the HAFP, they would benefit from the support and structure of larger organization.
Today, the three sites provide a wide variety of food, including local produce and meat, to the surrounding communities, as well as offering a delivery program and special holiday boxes.
Saint John’s is still very involved with the pantry by collecting weekly food donations, offering the sanctuary for holiday box preparation, making monetary donations, and providing the Hardwick space rent free.
For more information about HAFP, please visit their website at https://www.nourishhardwick.org/pantry.