Essex Jct.'s First Congreational Church is pictured, where the Heavenly Food Pantry will be offering an extra night a month to provide food for families in need. People can stop by on either the second Monday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., or the fourth Thursday of each month from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Essex Jct.’s First Congreational Church is pictured, where the Heavenly Food Pantry will be offering an extra night a month to provide food for families in need. (Photo by Colin Flanders)

The Heavenly Food Pantry at the First Congregational Church in Essex Jct. will be offering an extra night a month to provide food for families in need.

The modified offering will include all food in the cupboards plus meat, eggs and breads, and will be scheduled the second Monday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Church administrator Jen Dooley said the new hours are aimed at making the pantry more convenient, “so presumably somebody who’s working a day shift would be available to get to it after work,” she said.

Village trustee Lori Houghton informed the board of trustees that 20 fam- ilies took advantage of the new hours on January 9.

The Monday offering will be in addition to the pantry’s regularly sched- uled hours from 2 to 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month. Families can visit once a month.

Hunger Free Vermont reports that as of May 2015, one in seven Chittenden County children and nearly one in eight Vermont households are food insecure, which is defined as lacking access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.

And according to the Vermont Agency of Education, just over 25 percent of Essex students last school year across the communities’ two school districts qualified for free or reduced lunch, an indicator of low family income.