“Hoops for Hunger” game to benefit Athol High School Food Pantry

Athol High School seniors Anna Duquette (left) stands with Jenna Bonenfant. The two helped organize next Monday’s “Hoops 4 Hunger” game which will benefit the Athol High School Food Pantry through donations of money and non-perishable food items.

Athol High School seniors Anna Duquette (left) stands with Jenna Bonenfant. The two helped organize next Monday’s “Hoops 4 Hunger” game which will benefit the Athol High School Food Pantry through donations of money and non-perishable food items. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONNIE BONENFANT

Athol High School seniors Anna Duquette (left) stands with Jenna Bonenfant and coach Conor Morrisey. The two players helped organize next Monday’s “Hoops 4 Hunger” game for the Athol High School Food Pantry.

Athol High School seniors Anna Duquette (left) stands with Jenna Bonenfant and coach Conor Morrisey. The two players helped organize next Monday’s “Hoops 4 Hunger” game for the Athol High School Food Pantry. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONNIE BONENFANT

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 01-18-2024 5:00 PM

ATHOL – The girls basketball teams have created an event called “Hoops 4 Hunger” with the goal of raising money and collecting non-perishable food items for the Athol High School Food Pantry.

Lonnie Bonenfant, a member of the ARRSD School Committee and mother of varsity hoops player Jenna Bonenfant, told the Athol Daily News, “Last year they raised funds for cancer and held the same type of event they’re doing this year. This year, (the team) thought since the food pantry at the high school has kind of taken off – and they’ve done some things within the high school to let the kids know how beneficial it is to Athol and Orange and several area communities that it benefits – they thought it would be a cool thing to do something to benefit a ton of people in the area. So, this year they switched to ‘Hoops 4 Hunger.’”

She said her daughter Jenna and teammate Anna Duquette, both seniors, were instrumental in coming up with the idea.

In recent weeks, members of the team have sold purple “Hoops 4 Hunger” T-shirts and are hoping the bleachers will be filled Monday night with purple to show support for both the JV and varsity teams and the food pantry. Those attending the games who may not have been able to purchase a shirt are still encouraged to wear purple to the event. The shirts were provided by Shoefly Graphics of Athol, which is owned by Tim Shufelt.

Both games will be held on Monday, Jan. 22, at the Athol High School gymnasium. The junior varsity game gets under way at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. The Athol teams will be taking on their counterparts from Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for students, and $2 for senior citizens.

Proceeds will go to the food pantry, according to Lonnie. Students who show up with a non-perishable food item will get in for free. Adults and seniors are also being encouraged to bring non-perishable foods. Lonnie said the pantry also takes donations of toiletries and hygiene products.

As they will be graduating this June, Jenna and Anna are hoping the team will continue to hold this event in the years to come, said Lonnie.

Mahar Regional in Orange has accepted a challenge to see which school, Mahar or AHS, could raise more money for the pantry. Mahar’s junior varsity and varsity teams will face off with Athol on Saturday, Feb. 3. The JV game gets underway at 12:30 p.m., followed by the varsity contest at 2 p.m.

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Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com.