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Northampton Elks lead drive to help Food Bank

NORTHAMPTON — More than 15,600 people in Hampshire County do not have what is known as “food security” according to the Hatfield-based Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. With that in mind, Northampton Elks Lodge No. 997 is teaming up with local Girl and Boy Scout troops in order help make sure the food bank has an adequate supply of food to help them.

On Saturday, the lodge will hold a community food drive to collect nonperishable food and cash donations.

“We are all very excited about this and looking to do something good in the community,” said Jim Butcher, who is heading the drive with fellow Elks member Barbara Franklin.

“They say that hunger has no season, but this time of year there is a heating season, and heating increases monetary stress for families. That stress makes it harder for people to buy food,” Butcher said.

The drive is inviting donations of nonperishable food, in particular peanut butter and jelly, rice, soup, pasta and sauce, macaroni and cheese, tuna, beans, low-sugar cereal and canned fruit. He also said that the drive will accept money because the Food Bank can generate $9 worth of food for every dollar donated.

Helping the Elks in the effort are Boy Scouts of America troops 109 and 103 in Florence and the Girl Scouts of America Nonotuck Service Unit 197 in Goshen. This week, Scouts have been publicizing the drive, and making arrangements to pick up donations. The Elks will award a $50 gift card to the Boy Scout and Girl Scout who collect the most donations.

Community members are encouraged to bring their donations to the Elks Lodge at 17 Spring St. in Florence between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts serves Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire and Hampden counties.

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