About Us

About Us

The Open Pantry provides food assistance to individuals and families in need, regardless of race, language, creed, religion or country of origin.


The Open Pantry’s mission is to relieve hunger in our community. We aim to connect people to a variety of filling, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food, as well as to other community resources; to advocate on behalf of those in need locally, statewide, and nationally; and to engage with others in building food security.


A founder of The Open Pantry designed our original logo

The Open Pantry is an independent, non-denominational, not-for-profit organization which was founded in Lowell in 1981. It traces its roots to local church groups that saw a need for short-term food assistance in the community.  The original goal was to provide “emergency” food for “transiting” folks who were in need of food but couldn’t qualify for Massachusetts assistance programs, thus making our service a last resort for help. 

Through the years, the pantry has grown to offer our clients food on a regular, monthly basis. Besides healthy perishable and non-perishable foods, the pantry frequently offers baked goods, eggs, dairy products, toiletries, pet foods, diapers, and baby food upon request.

June 18th 2020, the Open Pantry in partnership with The Greater Boston Food Bank deliver the brown bag program.
The brown bag program

Off-site Food Distribution

In recent years, the Open Pantry of Greater Lowell, in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), has started participating in monthly external food distributions at four Lowell Housing Authority locations.  The client demographic at these locations are mainly elderly (over 50 years of age), low to moderate-income families, or individuals with disabilities. These off-sites distributions are done through the USDA Commodity Supplemental Program (CFSP) and GBFB Brown Bag Program. If you would like to volunteer, please check our volunteer form.

Monthly External Food Distribution Schedule

ProgramDayDistribution Location
USDA CFSP2nd Tuesday50 Stackpole St, Lowell, MA
111 Hildreth St, Lowell, MA
Brown Bag3rd WednesdayBishop Markham Housing, Lowell, MA
4th TuesdayArchambault/City View Towers, Lowell, MA


The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell has a dedicated team of about 50 volunteers. They perform various responsibilities to ensure respectful, smooth, and speedy distribution of free food to individuals or families in need. On the backend, volunteers function as facility cleaners, truck drivers, food unloaders, product sorters, etc. Volunteers are also involved in helping out at four external food distributions which the pantry participates in with the Greater Boston Food Bank. A few employees from Operation Able also work for the pantry.

The Open Pantry day-to-day operations and organizational development is headed by the Executive Director, Maureen Peirce. If you have any questions related to the Open Pantry or any operational or personnel issues, please email director@theopenpantry.org, call 978-453-6693, or visit us when the pantry is open.

The Board of Directors

Our board members represent a variety of backgrounds and are drawn from various communities.  They are elected for three-year terms and meet regularly to veto or approve motions. The board conducts meetings in accordance to the bylaws. Duties of the board also include selecting and supervising the Executive Director, providing organizational governance and administrative direction, setting annual budget, hosting annual volunteer appreciation event, organizing volunteer team building activities, and other tasks.

The President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary make up the Executive Committee of the Board who are authorized to act on behalf of the Board when necessary between meetings.

Rebecca WisniewskiPresident
Erica ParolisiVice-President
Mary EmanuelTreasurer
Yen Yen LimSecretary
Christine HaskellDirector
Francis GonzalezDirector
Randall BowlbyDirector
Tracie MorganDirector
2023-2024 Board members