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Disbanded Women’s Club makes food pantry donation

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2018 7:04:45 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Following its disbandment due to declining membership in May, the South Hadley Women’s Club has disbursed its funds among several local beneficiaries, presenting a $3,000 donation to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry on Aug. 8.

The Women’s Club, which had been active for 120 years, decided to divide its remaining money among a number of local organizations and individuals, including the pantry.

“We’re able to leverage a dollar to distribute 14 pounds of food, so this is a pretty large donation for us, and it’s going to help a lot of people,” said pantry manager Mary Lou Guarnera. “Our clientele is increasing pretty dramatically this summer, and that requires more food. We try to provide about three days of food for each time they come in, and that makes a pretty substantial demand on our budget, and so [the donation] is great.”

Former Women’s Club president Kay Washburn, who is also a volunteer at the pantry said that the group had regularly given $100 annual donations to four organizations: the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry, the Friends of the Library, the Friends of the Elderly and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Additionally, the club awarded scholarships to four South Hadley High School students.

With the club’s disbandment, the Friends of the Library, Friends of the Elderly and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church also received $1,000 each alongside the food pantry donation. The number of scholarships was also increased to five.

Club members agreed that the pantry “needed [the money] more than anything else,” and also wanted to honor the memory of Barbara Duda, a former president of the Women’s Club and dedicated supporter of the food pantry, who passed away in 2017.

“The pantry was kind of her baby,” Washburn said.

“We depend on our neighbors and our community for support, and we get wonderful support,” Guarnera said. “We get families helping, individuals, companies, and it really is just by the grace of the community that we exist, and we appreciate everything we get from everybody.”

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