N.H. food bank to launch food processing plant

Nonprofit moving beyond its mission to launch a business to supply other pantries and create needed jobs

Hattie Bernstein
Globe Correspondent, The Boston Globe

MANCHESTER, N.H. — For 30 years, the New Hampshire Food Bank has helped the poor, each day witnessing the struggles of families trying to make ends meet.

As people streamed into the local food pantries the food bank supplies, leaders of the nonprofit realized that many of the clients needed more than food.

They needed jobs. And they needed training.

Addressing these needs inspired the food bank to launch its own food-processing business to supply packaged and canned goods to 400 food pantries around the state, employ three people on a rotating basis, and provide job training and experience to help them advance to other jobs and careers.

When production begins in about six months, the nonprofit will become the first food bank in the Northeast — and only the second in the country — to operate its own food-processing plant.

“We have to change the business model, figure out how to get ourselves out of the box, find other opportunities,” said Mel Gosselin, who recently marked her 12th year as the food bank’s executive director.

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