05:40PM / Saturday, December 05, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Popcares Inc. is offering a second chance at a takeout chicken dinner from Bounti-Fare to help support local individuals and families dealing with cancer.
An important part of Popcares' fundraising has been events that bring people together.
"When we decided to start this back in 2012 in honor of my dad (William "Pop" St. Pierre), we wanted to be an all-volunteer organization and give money to local families," Bob St. Pierre said. "And we wanted to give people something for their donation."
From the annual Cruise-in and Flea Market to the Chicken Dinner and Auction that sells around 600 tickets, its events have reflected the charity's mission to ensure the local donations it raises stay in the community.
But the novel coronavirus pandemic has made these types of gatherings all but impossible — and that's putting a dent in Popcares' ability to support local families.
"First it was the spaghetti dinner, and then we had to cancel the car show," said Bob St. Pierre.
Then the annual chicken dinner went curbside and auction online, only raising about half the $50,000 that it's brought in in the past. The dinners brought a large group of competitive bidders together — it wasn't unusual for a stack of whoopie pies to go for hundreds of dollars — and a silent auction.
The annual December fundraiser seemed perfect for a COVID-19 world: outside Christmas tree sales. But the charity was tripped up once again. There's a Christmas tree shortage and it couldn't get any to sell.
So Bounti-Fare is firing up the ovens for another round of chicken dinners to go along with a pasta primavera option.
"Because we couldn't run our Christmas tree sales ... we could do another drive-up dinner," said St. Pierre. "People loved the last one so much."
October's annual dinner sold about 350 dinners and St. Pierre is hoping to match that again.
In addition to David Nicholas at Bounti-Fare, the community's been very supportive in other ways, he said, such as Shire Donuts doing a recent campaign that raised $2,000 and the Adams Police Department is extending its No Shave November campaign into December for the charity.
Popcares has distributed more than $650,000 to date, helping families meet their daily needs so they can concentrate on battling cancer.
"I think that's what people like about it," St. Pierre said. "The money stays local and they know the money they donate will go out to local people who need it."
For this fundraiser, Popcares is helping out another local charity. Anyone who drops off a non-perishable food item when they pick up their dinner (of if you just want to drop off food) will be entered into a prize drawing. The food will be donated to the Northern Berkshire Al Nelson Food Pantry.