top of page



Grace Episcopal Church‘s “Take a Tote” outreach program was created in 2010 to address the issue of physical hunger at our city schools.  When Vestry leaders learned that many of the children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school often do not receive another nutritional meal until they return to school on Monday, they formed a committee to develop a list of food items that could be packed and delivered to a near-by school that would supplement a child’s weekend meals at home. 


During Take a Tote’s first three years of operation, we delivered to three different locations as Concord’s smaller elementary schools were being consolidated.  With each move we steadily increased the number of totes.  From a beginning of seven totes filled with cereal, fruit cups, macaroni and cheese, pasta, tuna, crackers and snack bars, we grew to deliver 60 totes each week to Mill Brook School (K-2) in the Heights area of Concord in 2022-2023.

Although many affluent families live in East Concord and the area called Concord Heights, it is also a section of the city that has seen an influx of refugees from Bhutan, Nepal and Africa.  Over half the school population qualifies for the federal reduced-cost programs. The school has reported that these low-income and, in some cases, homeless families, feel a sense of relief knowing that they’ll all be able to share that box of cereal.


In the fall of 2023 our ministry took a slightly different path.  The need at the school was so great, a food pantry was established at the school.  The school no longer needed our totes, but did have other unfilled needs.  We changed direction and are now concentrating on fulfilling those needs.  


The school’s food pantry is supplied mainly by the N H Food Bank out of Manchester.  Each month the school submits a “shopping list” on items needed and volunteers drive to Manchester to pick them up.  


The school realized that the children at Mill Brook School are too small to carry home a large sack of groceries.  Therefore they go out into the community.  On the third Friday of each month, a truck picks up the items from Manchester, combines them with Grace’s donation and travels to a central location for distribution.  Currently they are delivering goods to three central locations in the Heights.  Included in the items are fresh meat, eggs, and produce.  Everyone is welcome.  Broken Ground also has a food pantry and distributes food on the first Friday of the month.  Rundlett Middle School also has a program which distributes food on the second Friday of the month.  


The school can’t afford to pay for certain items and that’s where Grace comes in.  Our ministry fills that need for Mill Brook School.  Each month we have been supplying rice, beans, pasta and laundry soap.  In addition to these basic needs for the food pantry, Grace supplies snacks for many of the children.  The teachers were using their own resources to provide each student with one snack each day.  Now Grace takes over this important ministry.  It means so much to the children to have one little snack each day.  This year the school decided to extend the food pantry thru the summer.  The food pantry will now be delivering food to the community 12 months a year.


Our main source of support comes from parishioners who bring in food items each week for the worship offering basket. We shop for whatever else is needed.  Cash donations from members, community friends, and grant resources as well as various fundraising events, such as the annual St. Nicholas Fair, also help keep our shelves filled.  The Food Co-Op on Main Street added Take A Tote to their round-up program last year and we will benefit from this program this August.


Although our efforts barely scratch the surface of hunger in Concord, Grace Church strongly believes its weekly contributions are making a difference in the community.  Now in its fourteenth year, Take a Tote offers a support system that is leading to a better quality of life for these fragile children. The overall well-being of these students is affected.  They become much happier, more alert in the classroom, thus strengthening the potential for learning.

bottom of page