By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Belknap County Restorative Justice, a program which provides court diversion services for both adults and juveniles, has been conducting a twice-a-month Payday Food Drive for over two years and now is looking to expand it even further.
"Our director, Brian Loanes, came up with the idea in October of 2014 as a community service project for our clients. It's gone so well that we'd like to make it even bigger," said Mike MacFazden, case manager for the department who is in charge of the program.
He said the food drive sees pickups made on the first and third Friday of each month from 14 drop-off points around the city with deliveries made to food pantries all over the county the same day.
"In January we had our biggest ever food pantry month. We delivered 65 cases to the Salvation Army, which feeds 135 people a week." said MacFazden.
He said that the drive collects nonperishable food and personal hygiene items, such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste, as well as pet food for families that have animals.
"We like to work with the small, church-based food pantries because they know who needs the help but may be too proud to ask for it," said MacFazden.
The program delivers food to Calvary Bible Church, the Center Harbor Church and Saint Charles Borremo in Meredith; the United Baptist Church in Meredith; the Commmunity Action Program; and the Sanbornton Food Pantry.
Collection points include the Belknap County Nursing Home, Belknap County Commissioners office, Belknap County Superior Court and Laconia Circuit Court, the Wescott Law office, Horizons Counseling, Lakes Region Community services, the SAU 30 office on Harvard Street, Laconia City Hall, the Public Defender's office, Normandin, Cheney and O'Neil law office, Uniformly Yours, Boulia Gorrell Lumber and Tremblay's Touch Painting.
For more information contact MacFazden at 527-5493.
Skyla Farquharson, a college intern with Belknap County Restorative Justice, stands next to a van full of items collected in the Payday Food Drive, conducted twice a month by the department. (Courtesy photo)
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