ROCHESTER - Driving by Linscott Street on any given Tuesday you'd think the city was holding a block party with scores of people in the street, a festive atmosphere in the air and folks hustling and bustling around with boxes of food and dry goods as others wait in line.
But the folks hustling and bustling about are volunteers for Gather, a Portsmouth nonprofit that delivers food to the needy in several communities on the Seacoast. And the festive atmosphere is because both volunteers and those served are thankful to help or be helped in the fight against hunger.
And while there are many anti-hunger nonprofits throughout the Granite State, there are probably none with such a storied history as Gather, which was started in 1816.
"It was started to help the families of fishermen who were out at sea," said Mystyna Shappy, mobile programs manager for Gather.
Gather has a campus including a Pantry Market at 210 West Road in Portsmouth, but also takes its food trucks all over the Seacoast with weekly visits including every Tuesday in Rochester outside Grace Community Church from 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Shappy said they expanded their outreach to Rochester in 2019 and will be continuing their weekly visits at least through August.
She said the mobile markets program began in April 2020 after the COVID lockdowns were put in place.
On Tuesday the line for food stretched down Linscott Street and onto Wakefield Street. Shappy said several hundred show up for the free food every week.
She said those in need can get fresh fruits and vegetable, as well as dairy products, eggs and meat.
"They can choose what they want, and we'll get it for them," she added.
To learn more or to donate or volunteer click here.