Saturday, December 21, 2013

We Live in a Very Generous Community

Receiving the check and food at the Abbott School. Woman on the left is from the Berkshire Humane Society.

Donations, donations, donations

It has become hard to keep up with the number of donations we receive. Here, I will deal mainly with donations of food, but the donations of money we receive are just as remarkable. Here goes:

 One of the most memorable for me came recently when I went to Abbott School in Florida to pick up a $450 check and 642 lbs of food.

This came from a Project 351, a non-profit that inspires and helps eighth graders in every city and town in the state develop leadership skills and do service. This project was led by student Ambassadors Mackenzie Wright, Autumn Tynan and Ambassador Alumna Tilly Brule. Their coach, Heidi Dugal, is also principal of the Abbott School.

Other students who participated were Nathan Richardson, Jack Gibeau, and Paris Sumner.

The project consisted of a long food drive at Abbott School and McCann Technical Vocational High School for both the Friendship Center and the Berkshire Humane Society. The “Oh, Be Thankful” Pie Contest held on Nov. 26 at the American Legion in North Adams raised nearly $1,200 for us the Humane Society and for the American Legion’s annual Christmas Dinner.

Al Nelson watches as the group from the Clarksburg School loads up our cart.

• In another town we serve, Clarksburg, the Clarksburg School has been great in running a food drive each year we’ve been open. In past years, one of us would go up and get the food.

This year, parent Heidi Blake, along with her twin daughters, Hope and Hannah, along with Abby Smith and Brandon Vallone visited on Saturday, Nov. 29, and delivered 233 lbs of food. Al Nelson and I had a could discussion with the visitors and explained how the pantry operates in detail. An enjoyable visit.

Mayor Alcombright at the Friendship Center on Friday, Dec. 20, with Ellen Sutherland and Darcie Bellows.

• Also for the third year in a row, the City of North Adams, both the schools and the municipal side, ran a food drive for us. Some 682 lbs. of food arrived on Friday, Dec. 20. Mayor Alcombright — who is a great supporter of our work — and Darcie Bellows from the city and Ellen Sutherland from the schools came to the Friendship Center for some media coverage.

Our friend Aleta Monchecci of BCAC (center) with two helpers delivered food from the first Harvest Haul to the Friendship Center back in October.

• Lest I forget, on Oct. 19 our friends at the Berkshire Community Action Council held their first Harvest Haul, which benefitted a number of organizations. After having been set up at Wal-Mart in North Adams, some BCAC folks came over and delivered 219 lbs. of goods.

• I would be remiss not to mention all the produce that local farmers and gardeners donate to us, including all the produce that Kathy Keeser and other volunteers with Hoosac Harvest glean (ie. pick up overlooked veggies off the ground) at local farms. (Am hoping to do a post here soon on local produce.)

These donations which I have photos for are just a small percentage of the food and personal care product donations we receive, many from generous individuals. Here are some other recent donations:

• Spitzer Center, Dec. 3, 120 lbs.

• Clarksburg VFW Post 1994, Dec. 2, 58 lbs.

• Everyday Health, Nov. 27, 68 lbs.

• MCLA Center for Service and Citizenship, Nov. 26, 108 lbs.

• Florida Baptist Church, Nov. 26, 48 lbs.

• MCLA Hunger Banquet (held Nov. 24),  146 lbs., plus $118 donation.

• Storey Publishing Co., Nov. 26, 78 lbs.

• Williams College Center for Learning in Action, Nov. 25, 406 lbs.

• North Adams Regional Hospital SEIU 1199, Nov. 22, 200 lbs.

• St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Nov. 19 & Nov. 26, 386 lbs. total

• VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire, Nov. 19, 219 lbs.

Healthy Donations

Our friend Amanda Chilson, as part of the Mass in Motion effort has given us a list of suggested healthy foods. We have offered it out several times already to groups wanting to do food drives for us. Here it is:

• Beans
• Tuna
• Peanut Butter
• Instant Brown Rice
• Whole Wheat Pasta with Pasta Sauce
• Low Sodium Canned Vegetables (Tomatoes) or Soup
• Oatmeal
• Whole Grain Cereals (Low Sugar)
• No Sugar Added Canned Fruits

Well, that’s it for now. To my Christian friends, Merry Christmas. To everyone else, Happy Holidays. And to all, God Bless You,