Friday, April 6, 2018

St. Ann’s Essentials Pantry provides for those in need by Michelle Libby

Deacon Wendy and Dick Rozene in front of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Wendy wants to get the word out about the St. Ann's Essentials Pantry to help more families and the elderly in need.
For almost three years, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Windham, has been serving families by providing personal and household items that EBT cards and the food pantries in the area don’t cover.

Under the direction of Deacon Wendy Rozene, the pantry has served over 100 families, with approximately 30 attending monthly.
The idea for the Essentials Pantry came when someone dropped off rolls of paper towels into the collections basket at a church service after having read an article in The Windham Eagle about items that the food pantry didn’t provide. Rozene noticed the donation and thought about the same article which she’d read. She got permission to start an initiative through a grant she applied for from the Dioceses of Maine for $3,000, which gave the pantry its start. Rozene bought shelves and loaded them for the first day. 

Since then, the pantry continues to offer a place for people to get the items they can’t get anywhere else, like paper towels, dish and laundry soap as well as toothbrushes and paste. 

The pantry is free to those who meet the location requirement.

The pantry is open to all people from Windham, Raymond, Casco, Standish and the lakes region. The first time they come they need proof of residency such as a CMP bill with their name and address on it,” said Rozene. 

Rozene has a list of personal hygiene and cleaning products that are acceptable to donate and ones that are not welcome, like liquid laundry detergents and liquid deodorants. “Toilet paper is essential,” Rozene said. Shampoos, bars of soap and stick deodorant are other items distributed. 
Donations come from parishioners, public donations, cash donations, and the St. Ann’s budget, which kicks in $250 per month to help round out the products that will be given away. Rozene has been talking to other churches about contributing to this mission. She said she tried to get other churches to buy in from the first day, and she’d like to team up with them. 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help and other churches have taken collections for the pantry and donated items and cash. Some joint services between churches at Thanksgiving and other times have donated all of the monetary offerings to the pantry. One ecumenical service raised $350 in cash, which was enough for three months of products, said Rozene. 

Girl Scout troops have made bars of soap, dentists have donated toothbrushes and toothpaste, but it is an ongoing effort and donations are always welcome.

St. Ann’s is hosting a golf scramble on Sunday, May 20 at Spring Meadows Golf Course in Gray. Proceeds from that will go toward the Essentials Pantry as well as other outreach programs in the community. The church is looking for teams of four to play or for prize donations. Ann’s Essentials Pantry runs the last Saturday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the church on the corner of Windham Center Road and River Road. Items can be dropped off at the church or call Deacon Wendy Rozene at 207-232-0841. For more information on the golf tournament or St. Ann’s programs, call Cynthia at 892-8847 or visit

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