Sweeney Post feeding those in need

Volunteers are needed to help distribute weekly food boxes.

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Annika Saarinen, left, and Sophia Bondolilo helped distribute food boxes from the American Legion Sweeney Post to Manchester residents in need. Volunteers are needed to continue the food outreach. Photo/Shire Sharing

MANCHESTER, NH – David Powe doesn’t know if it’s the COVID-19 pandemic, or if more people are struggling in general these days, but he does know he and members of the Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post 2 will keep distributing food boxes as long as possible.

“If they’re in need, they can come down and get it,” Powe said.

Amanda Bouldin, state representative for Manchester, has been doing her part making sure about 60 families in the city are getting a weekly food box, but she is starting to need help. Bouldin helps out with the annual Shire Sharing program to make sure people get Thanksgiving food, and she knows there are people hungry every week.

“I know lots of people from the Shire Sharing program,” she said.

The boxes include fresh fruit, milk, dairy, and cooked meat. Powe said it is enough to cover food gaps people on fixed incomes might have.

“It’s not much, but this helps fill that gap a little bit,” Powe said.

The Sweeney Post is getting the food through Don Cox, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, which has distributed well over 1 million pounds of fresh food in Massachusetts since last fall. Powe said the food goes to veterans first, but there is usually plenty left over after the veterans are set.

“We push is out and set up veterans and veteran families first, and once they are down, we start for everyone else,” Powe said.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the Sweeney Post weekly food deliveries. Photo/Shire Sharing

Many people in Manchester are struggling, Bouldin said, and being poor gets expensive. With the housing shortage many people are forced to live in hotels and motels because they can’t get an apartment.

“That’s the best they can do,” Bouldin said.

Bouldin is looking for people to help her make the weekly deliveries. She had her daughter, Sophia Biondolillo and Bedford High School student Annika Saarinen help out for a few weeks. Saarinen was able to get necessary community service hours, and interact with different people.

“It was nice,” Saarinen said. “It was easy to give the food boxes to them.”

Powe said the Sweeney Post will be distributing food through September, and he hopes to be able to do it again in the spring and summer next year, as well, depending on the availability.

Volunteers are needed. People interested in helping out with Bouldin and Shire Sharing’s efforts can sign up at http://www.shiresharing.org/