03:43PM / Monday, November 25, 2019
The donations arrived in the colorful donation boxes created by local schoolchildren.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — City workers delivered the results of this year's annual food drive to help support local families in need.
Volunteers at the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry were on hand early Monday morning to take accept the boxes of canned and packaged goods.
The annual drive collects nonperishable foods from the North Adams Public Schools, City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department, Spitzer Center and the library. Organized through the public schools, the food drive started with the opening of the Friendship Center Pantry on Eagle Street in 2011. Schoolchildren decorated the boxes set out for public donations.
Mark Rondeau, one of the founders of the food pantry with the late Al Nelson, said the donation was welcome as the pantry had seen a small spike in the number of families it serves weekly beginning in October that's averaging higher than last year.
"It's very, very important. It shows the community support we get," he said, recalling how former Mayor Richard Alcombright had started the drive. "We got off to a very busy November and we're going to be open this Wednesday. So, you know, this helps us meet the increased need.
Families and individuals can go to the pantry on Eagle Street twice a month, or every other Wednesday. Rondeau said it served close to 1,000 family units a month in North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida, although he estimated 95 percent are from North Adams.
The pantry accepts donations of cash and supplies.
"We can always use peanut butter and soup and things like canned vegetables are always good," Rondeau said. "Personal care items for people, we give those out, too. They are not covered by SNAP."