DRACUT -- The photo of the almost bare shelf had hundreds of shares on Facebook.
"This is our soup shelf it is usually full as you can see it is empty," the Nov. 8 post read.
The shelves at the Dracut Food Pantry are at all-time lows, volunteers say. Located at 1934 Lakeview Ave., Dracut, the pantry's mission is to provide short and long-term food assistance to Dracut residents who are struggling to put food on the table.
"Over the summer, our levels get low because we get a lot of food from the schools. As the summer comes, the children are not at school so we're not getting donations," said Kevin Willett, chairman of the Dracut Food Pantry's Board of Directors. "It's kind of a supply and demand. We have less supply and more demand, so it this week to reach out to friends about the current need.
"We're looking for soup, we're looking for pasta, cereal, and mac and cheese," he stressed. "Any non-perishable item is more than welcome."
Dave Paquin, who also sits on the pantry's Board of Directors, said there's also a need for pet food.
"We never have enough," he said. "We run out every time. I'm a pet owner so I know that if I needed food for my cat, I would get tuna fish or something to feed it. People are very tied emotionally to their pets."
Amy Pessia, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB), said her bank is fortunate enough to serve the food pantries in the region, including the Dracut Food Pantry.
"We're fortunate that this time of year, multiple faith-based organizations, corporations, and community groups and academic partners all think of giving -- whether it's food, supermarket gift cards, and funds to help our neighbors who are experiencing financial challenges," she said.
Pessia encouraged the public to help by checking the MVFB's website (mvfb.org) to see the agencies that the bank serves.
"By helping the food bank, they're also helping their local neighbors," she said. "If people would like to give to their own community food pantry, we encourage them to do that too. But not only now, throughout the year because people do have food insecurity throughout the year."
In Chelmsford, Sandy Donovan, founder and director of the nonprofit Chelmsford Community Exchange, Inc., said her pantry is fine this season.
"We are a blessed pantry," she said. "We get food from Stop & Shop, we get it from individuals. Some people own their own businesses and they bring us food."'
Over at the Tewksbury Community Pantry, vice president Patty Haversat said the pantry is currently in good shape.
"I just feel like we are really blessed and we have a lot of great people in town that have helped us," she said. "I think the need for us is more after the holidays because it's not on their minds."
In the Dracut Food Pantry's November 2017 newsletter, the team of volunteers wrote it's imperative that shelves are restocked before the next pantry opening on Nov. 18, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The newsletter lists the other pantry hours, which include Nov. 20, Dec. 16, Dec. 18, Jan. 27, and Jan. 29.
Starting this coming Monday (Nov. 13), each school in the Dracut Public Schools system will be collecting donations for the Dracut Food Pantry, Superintendent of Schools Steven Stone announced Thursday on Twitter. The M.G. Parker Memorial Library, 28 Arlington St., and the Dracut Council on Aging, 951 Mammoth Rd., will also accept food donations. In addition, the Dracut Fire Department headquarters located at 488 Pleasant St. accepts donations 24 hours a day, according to pantry volunteers.
Anyone wishing to help can email email@example.com.
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.