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South Hadley volunteers to collect pantry donations

About 200 volunteers are needed to distribute grocery bags Saturday morning and again on Monday to pick up the filled bags and sort and package donations for the food pantry. Volunteers are asked to call 413-535-8861 to sign up.

Volunteers will distribute 5,000 grocery bags to South Hadley homes on Saturday between 9 and 10:30 a.m., then return to the homes on Monday between 10 a.m. and noon to collect donations. Food sorters and packers will be needed to work at the high school Monday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

This is the largest collection so far for the food drive. Two years ago, 2,500 grocery bags were distributed, and 3,500 were distributed last year.

The first food drive enabled the pantry to open three years ago. Along with food, it provides clothing, support services and household goods to about 150 families.

Grocery bags will be distributed to homes on the town’s main roads of Granby Road and Newton, College, Lamb, Brainerd and Lyman streets.

The townwide food drive actually kicked off last month, when students and staff at South Hadley High School began collecting items under direction of Assistant Principal Ted McCarthy and Morgan Greaney, a community service intern. So far, more than 4,000 items have been collected, according to Susan Brouillette, one of the organizers.

Brouillette said organizers want people to know “our need of volunteers for the food drive and to give a heads-up regarding the need for generous donations.”

Mount Holyoke College is participating in Bag the Community Day this year by holding a food drive on campus and contributing 70 volunteers, five vehicles and monetary support through its office of community engagement.

The organizers of Bag the Community Day are from Count Me In, South Hadley High School’s student leadership groups, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Mount Holyoke College and the South Hadley Youth Commission.

Etta Walsh can be reached at ewalsh.gazette@gmail.com.

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