12:00PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018
The city has been putting out collection boxes in the schools and city departments each fall since the food pantry opened seven years ago.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams city employees and community members have donated a record-breaking 1,044 pounds of non-perishable food and personal care items this year.
The drive benefited the Al Nelson Friendship Center's food pantry, located at 43 Eagle St.
The city's been doing the annual collection since the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative opened the pantry, in cooperation with Berkshire Community Action Council and the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, seven years ago.
"Together, the members of the North Adams community contributed over a half ton of food –- a record for this drive — to the center," said Mayor Thomas Bernard in a statement. "The generosity of city staff and our friends and neighbors will help support the Al Nelson Friendship Center's mission of 'working with others of goodwill to find ways to serve our community.' Thank you to everyone who contributed!"
Bernard, with the assistance of Superintendent of Schools Barbara Malkas as well as city and Friendship Center volunteers, delivered the collected items to the food pantry. The season's first snowstorm last week offered an extra day for the drive and postponed the delivery from the original Friday date.
The drive ran from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16. Collection boxes decorated by students were available in all the schools and at the School Department's Central Office, at City Hall, the library, the Mary Spitzer Center and the Police and Fire departments.
The Friendship Center, recently renamed for one of its founders, the late Arlon "Al" Nelson, serves up to 150 families every Wednesday. The food drive had been run by Ellen Sutherland, former assistant to the superintendent who retired this year, with assistance from City Hall. It's been taken up by Michelle Ells, the mayor's administrative assistant.