Truth Frequency Radio
Aug 04, 2014

foodrive.jpgBy Anne-Gerard Flynn, Mass Live

An Aug. 2 food drive for an area pantry serving Ludlow, Wilbraham, Hampden, and the Indian Orchard, Pine Point, and Sixteen Acres sections of Springfield, has harvested a big response.

“The food drive was a success,” said organizer Denise Flanagan, adding some “5,725 pounds of food” was collected.

The event, to fill the shelves of the Community Survival Center in Indian Orchard, involved three, 10-foot trucks, donated by U-Haul Moving & Storage on Boston Road. The trucks were set up for donations at Stop & Shop on Boston Road, as well as on Cooley Street, and at Randall’s Farm and Greenhouse on Center Road, in Ludlow, on Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteer organizers came from a group calling itself Friends of the Community Survival Center that Flanagan rallied, after reports in the media of how donations to pantries lag over the summer months.

“The turn out made my heart feel good. It showed me just what I stated previously,” Flanagan said. “I believe people want to help, they just don’t think about it, or realize the summer months for hunger are the most critical. I can’t tell you how many times we heard, ‘This was such a good idea having this at a store location where I can shop and drop my donation!’ People loved the kids helping, some filled carts for the cause, and one even added ice cream sandwiches for the volunteers. It’s all good, people are good!”

Flanagan said Big Y, in Ludlow and Wilbraham, is doing an in-store drive for the center through Aug. 6. Needed items include canned meats, pasta, peanut butter and tuna.

According to Jackie Madden, the center’s executive director, the center distributes about 13,000 pounds of food a month.

Since some of the food the center receives through the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is part of the federal government’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, individuals using the center’s emergency food program must meet state income eligibility requirements.

Qualifying participants, in the center’s geographical area, get six yearly visits for free food from the center. Children of these participants are also eligible for the center’s pre-school program, which allows food for 20 breakfasts and 20 lunches, on a monthly basis, until the child is old enough to attend school. In the summer months, meals are included for children up to the age of 8.

There is also a Senior Outreach program that offers a once-a-month, 20-to 22-pound bag of food to “any and all senior households,” regardless of where they live.

The center also has a thrift shop, and an area for household goods.

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