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EAST WINTHROP, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A food pantry that has operated out of an East Winthrop church for more than 20-years may have to close soon.

The church gets most of its food from Hannaford Supermarkets. A new store policy now requires food pantries to be associated with the Good Shepherd Food Bank. But Good Shepherd rejected the church's request to be an affiliate because it doesn't meet certain criteria, including having an intake process.

The church's pastor says his ministry allows anyone to come to the pantry. He says he's losing his main supplier of food at a time when more people are coming to the pantry than ever before.

"That's distressing. That saddens me because we're in a position to do something about it and now our job is being made more difficult", said Pastor Sam Richards.

A spokesperson for Hannaford says the change requiring a Good Shepherd affiliation was made as part of a coordinated effort to get fresh food out to the pantries more quickly, so it's not wasted by going bad.

The pastor says he has received some large donations in the past few days. He says he'll keep the food pantry open until the food runs out.

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