Fill the Belly Bus food drive in Franklin County

  • Volunteers organize donations of food coming into the Greenfield Town Common for the Fill The Belly Bus Food Drive that will distribute the food where it is needed through local food pantries and meals programs. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

For the Gazette
Published: 7/28/2016 1:38:33 AM

GREENFIELD — Two buses will be dispatched next month to help fill the shelves of food pantries across the region during an historically busy time of the year.

The Franklin County Hunger Task Force will hold its annual Fill the Belly Bus Food Drive on Aug 12.

It is held each year to highlight the period when summer camps that provide children with meals are beginning to close down and school has not quite started. Matthew Leger-Small of Community Action said  that is a time when local food pantries typically see a spike in demand. 

The goal will be to collect tons of food from local businesses, organizations and churches through internal food drives. Those donations then will be dropped off at designated collection locations and picked up by buses donated by TravelKuz and the Franklin Regional Transit Authority. It will all be given to local agencies for distribution to needy families during those two weeks.

“It puts food insecurity out front in a time when people are not necessarily thinking about it,” Leger-Small said. “Most donate food around Thanksgiving, but this highlights that food insecurity is a year-round event.”

Businesses which run internal food drives can bring what they collect to one of the designated drop-off locations where it will be picked up by the one of the buses. Individuals also may bring food to those sites at Stop & Shop in Greenfield from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Food City in Turners Falls from 9 a.m. to noon, Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield from noon to 1 p.m., Foster’s Supermarket in Greenfield from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and the Greenfield Town Common from 3 to 5 p.m. 

Once collected, the food will be distributed among the Franklin County Community Meals Program, the Franklin Area Survival Center, the Greenfield Salvation Army and Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance to be given to local families, Leger-Small said.

Cash donations are also welcome, with checks made out to Community Action with Belly Bus in the memo line.

“Our clients rely on these programs to feed themselves and their families. Food is a huge part of the household budget,” Leger-Small said. “Even for low-income families with access to all the resources like SNAP, there’s still a gap between what they need to eat well and access to it. The driving force behind this is to build a community response to it.”

For more information or to organize a drive, contact Leger-Small at mlegersmall@communityaction.us or call 413-376-1179.




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