Town outraged after lease shut down for food pantry

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Some North Branford residents are disappointed and frustrated after they spent hours and thousands of dollars renovating an old town hall and the Town Council denied their lease proposal.

“I know people are out of work. I know they struggle a food pantry would have been perfect,” said organizer Lynn Riordan.

Riordan said in June, she pitched her idea to renovate the old hall on Foxon Rd built in 1834 to the Town Council. She said they green lighted the project and for a week about 100 volunteers spent 12 hours a day fixing it up.

“We painted every wall. We hung these beautiful curtains scrubbed the bathrooms the kitchen. It was very, very filthy in here,” said Riordan.  North Branford food pantry

She donated $10,000 to the cause from a non-profit she runs called Matt’s Mission. It’s in memory of her son, who died in a car accident. She got a liability insurance policy, kept receipts, and last night the town council voted 6 to 3 not to move forward with the food pantry project. Council members News 8′s Stephanie Simoni spoke to declined an on-camera interview, but some said they’re concerned about being able to financially maintain the building down the road.

“It’s sad and it’s disappointing,” said Riordan. “When they gave us the green-light in June, They knew well-aware that this building was old. They knew that there was probably going to be some expenses.”

She estimated about 100 people a week and need this pantry. Right now the town has them, but she said they don’t serve perishable items and is not affiliated with the Connecticut Food Bank.

Riordan says this is just a minor set back and hopes this building will serve people once again.

“I’m not going to give up and I’m not going to quit, one way or another. Where there’s a will there’s a way,” she said.

North Branford Mayor Anthony Candelora communicated through text messages Wednesday night. He said the council tried very hard to reach a compromise on the lease, but they didn’t know the cost of the program, and says they don’t have money in the budget. He continued to emphasize that they have food banks and services for their community.

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