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Visit to Lazarus House


MVFB Executive Director Amy Pessia and Warehouse Manager Tony Luna recently visited St Martha’s Food Pantry, operated by Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence, one of the 122 agencies and feeding programs for which the MVFB provides food.

The pantry, set up with shelves like a little grocery store, welcomes more than 1,100 families every Wednesday to “shop” for their groceries.

“You can’t empower people until they believe in themselves,” said Lazarus House Executive Director Bridget Shaheen. “They deserve to have their dreams fulfilled the same way we do.”

Shaheen added it was important to her that the pantry be set up like a grocery store to provide clients with the “dignity of choice” many of them have gone years without.

Overlooking the pantry’s storage area, staff member Mike Shea said when the MVFB truck backed up to the building the previous day, it brought tears to his eyes.

“Fresh apples and yogurt! That’s the food we want to be giving out,” he said.

In addition to the very busy pantry, Lazarus House also runs an emergency shelter with 41 beds and 7 cribs, a building with 20 apartments for transitional living, an 8-bedroom home for single women, a soup kitchen and workforce training programs in culinary arts, English as a second language and office/commercial cleaning to assist people in obtaining employment and get them back on their feet. For more information about Lazarus House visit