SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Thanksgiving is now just more than one week away, and many are already getting into the season's spirit of giving.
"Just today we brought in an additional 634 pounds of food," said South Portland Food Cupboard executive director Dwayne Hopkins.
The weeks before Thanksgiving consistently bring an increased number of donations to the Food Cupboard, which is very helpful for families in need, but it also can pose challenges for those working and volunteering at them.
"This is going to be one of the highest volume of times of the entire year," said Hopkins. "We're going to have more recipient families coming in. We've got lots of organizations that are donating food. Individuals as well that are bringing food in."
With an increase in donations, it means even more volunteers are needed to help manage the inventory and make sure it's prepared for families.
"We really could use a lot more volunteers in this next little while," said Hopkins.
On Tuesday, the food cupboard hosted an open house, and welcomed new volunteers to the team ahead of one of their busiest seasons.
The South Portland Food Cupboard is open to the community every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. There are also additional options for families unable to make that time window.
"If we can get them to leave here with a bag of groceries and a whole vehicle full of hope, that's really our goal," said Hopkins.
The pantry is now becoming fully stocked with Thanksgiving foods. Families are allowed one visit to the cupboard per month. After that, cupboard staff are able to direct recipient families to other food pantries.
Families visiting will also be able to pick up turkeys after Thanksgiving. Food Cupboard staff expect increased donations come from local grocery stores following the holiday. There is also ham, chicken and double Cornish hens available for families looking to celebrate Christmas dinner.
If you're interested in donating or volunteering at the South Portland Food Cupboard, you can contact them by calling (207) 874-0379 or email them at FoodCupboard@maine.rr.com. You can also visit the cupboard's website.