×

North Quabbin Food-A-Thon collects donations for local community

  • Dexter Park School students walked to downtown Orange on Tuesday to donate food. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Nicole Chaisson collects money for local food pantries on South Main Street Tuesday during the Food-A-Thon.

  • Fisher Hill School students walked to downtown Orange Tuesday to deliver food to the Food-A-Thon. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Misty Higginson, a student at Fisher Hill School, hand a volunteer some food the school donated. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Fisher Hill School students walked to downtown Orange to donate food on Tuesday. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Volunteers worked throughout the day on Tuesday to collect food and money. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • A Fisher Hill student hands a volunteer a bag of food. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Volunteers transfer food collected at Hannaford supermarket. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS



Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

During last year’s annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon Andrea Leibson, executive director of Franklin County Meals program, said the Orange Food Pantry received so many donations that one of their tables broke from the weight of the non-perishable food items — and she was hoping for the same this year.

The 15th North Quabbin Food-A-Thon took place throughout local communities from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It is wonderful to have neighbors helping neighbors. It raises awareness of how much hunger there is and how much food insecurity there is as well locally,” said Leibson.

Volunteers sorted through the donations collected from various locations throughout Athol and Orange. Leibson said it takes a “small army” of volunteers to run the Food-A-Thon each year, with around 100 volunteers helping out this year. Some stood in the streets of downtown Orange and Athol to collect money donations for the Food-A-Thon.

Dexter Park students traveled through downtown Orange with food items in red wagons cheering “Dexter Park rules!” The local public schools, such as Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School and Athol High School, also collected items.

Last year, almost 16,000 non-perishable food items were collected and over the past 14 years, the Food-A-Thon has collected nearly $400,000, according to Leibson.

At the end of the day in Orange the items and money were divided between five local pantries and several feeding programs. Those include the Orange Food Pantry, Our Lady Immaculate Pantry in Athol, the Salvation Army Pantry, Good Neighbors Pantry in Wendell and the St. Vincent DePaul Pantry of St. Mary’s Church in Orange. There are also two local feeding programs that benefit from the fundraiser: the Community Meals Program in Orange and the Meal Program in Athol.

Leibson said of the five the Orange Food Pantry serves the largest amount of food to the public and allows anyone to accept items from the pantry. She said the pantry serves about 100 families a week.

“For us, the amount of non-perishable food we get from the Food-A-Thon will basically be gone in two weeks, because we serve so many people,” she said.

But the money donations are also important to the Orange pantry and the other organizations, said Leibson.

“It provides us with extra food to reduce the amount of non-perishable food we would order from The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, but doesn’t change how much fresh food we order,” she said.

Being able to reduce the cost of food allows the Orange pantry to focus that money on other necessary costs that keep its’ doors open, such as electricity.

“The money helps dramatically,” said Leibson.

AOTV and WJDF radio broadcasted live throughout the day, updating the community on the number of items collected throughout the Food-A-Thon.


Connect with Us

E-Edition and Local Ads

Social Media