Wilson Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc

Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry Undergoes Heating and Cooling Overhaul

Tom When Patricia Stern joined the Devens Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry about 1 ½ years ago as Executive Director, one of her main goals was to create a steering committee to preserve their building, renovated in 2006, so that it will operate efficiently well into the future. One of the areas that had been neglected was the heating and cooling system which is sorely in need of servicing – a tune-up, change of filters, and whatever preventative maintenance that would help it to function optimally.

Stern asked Tom Wilson, President of Wilson Brothers, HVAC in Pepperell to come in and “take a look at the system.” Wilson prepared a list of repairs and preventative maintenance that was necessary and presented a proposal with a total charge of zero dollars. “I’m not going to charge you for this work!” exclaimed Wilson. “Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry is a mission of love and faith to serve people of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton, and Shirley. This is just my way of giving back to the communities who have supported Wilson Brothers in the past.” Wilson contacted one of his vendors, Total Air Supply in Nashua NH and encouraged the owner, Sue Quintiliani to donate some equipment – in fact, they donated all the materials used, valued at more than $1,500. Sue explained, “This organization is important to the Wilson Brothers … so it became important to us to be a part of this project.”

The work resulted in Loaves and Fishes being able to utilize an unusable part of the building they left vacant because they were not able to heat it properly. Now the building has two zones which provides even heat and lower utility bills.

The Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry has a staff of four including Stern, a Site Administrator, Food Coordinator, and Client Advocate, a social worker who supervises the volunteers who work with clients. Stern explained that the facility serves more than 80 families in each of their two- to three-hour “shopping” sessions. In today’s challenging economy, the Pantry sees 8 – 10 new families each week. “The Pantry is driven by volunteers numbering more than 400 who do everything from legal work to sweeping the floors,” said Stern. She further explained that food donations typically drop off between February and April and again in summer when folks go on vacation and don’t think about the need to contribute food staples. “Our clients eat 52 weeks a year, so the need is year-round.” Currently, the shelves can use 100% juice, cans of tuna, jelly, Ramon noodles, chicken noodle soup and personal care products, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste.”

In early May, Wilson Brothers was asked to participate in the Post Office Food Drive which benefited The Pantry. Tom Wilson provided two of his trucks and two employees, Scott McIntire and Matt Blood, accompanied Tom to pick up the donations from the post office and delivered them to Loaves and Fishes. “We carted more than 80 boxes and filled the trucks – it was amazing!” exclaimed Tom. “We thought we were just going to deliver the donations, but it turned out to be fun! We got involved and met the Loaves and Fishes staff and volunteers. I’m sure we’ll do this again – it was pretty cool!”

Loaves and Fishes accepts donations year round. Canned goods and non-perishables can be dropped off at The Pantry, located at 234 Barnum Road, Devens. Call 978-722-4627 or check the Web site for hours of operation: www.devenspantry.org.

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