SCARBOROUGH — Parishioners at St. John Paul II Parish (St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough; Holy Cross Church, South Portland; St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth) set out to help neighbors in need during Lent and help them they did.

In total, 7,024 pounds of canned goods and packaged food were donated during “40 Cans for Lent,” which was conducted by Knights of Columbus Councils #2344, #8144, and #11747. The total exceeded the parish goal by over 500 pounds and eclipsed last year’s total by nearly 1,000 pounds.

All the proceeds from the “40 Cans for Lent” were donated to the South Portland Food Cupboard, which was started in 1997. Students at Holy Cross School in South Portland often assist the volunteers with organizing donations and stocking shelves. For more information on how you can help the food cupboard or for distribution schedules, visit or call 207-874-0379.

“40 Cans for Lent” originated in 2011 in Helotes, Texas. Dennis Chaput, a financial secretary for a local Knights council there, says the idea of a simple, straightforward one-can-per-day donation, inspired by Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert, came to him in the middle of the night in September of 2010. The program has now spread to councils and parishes across the country.