Belly Bus speeds up

Record year for food drive program

  • Submitted Photo

    Submitted Photo

  • Submitted Photo<br/><br/>Dino Schnelle, Coordinator of the Center for Self-Reliance food pantries (a program of Community Action), and Sara Penn-Strah, a volunteer and member of the Hunger Task Force, at the Belly Bus Food Drive.<br/>

    Submitted Photo

    Dino Schnelle, Coordinator of the Center for Self-Reliance food pantries (a program of Community Action), and Sara Penn-Strah, a volunteer and member of the Hunger Task Force, at the Belly Bus Food Drive.

  • Submitted Photo
  • Submitted Photo<br/><br/>Dino Schnelle, Coordinator of the Center for Self-Reliance food pantries (a program of Community Action), and Sara Penn-Strah, a volunteer and member of the Hunger Task Force, at the Belly Bus Food Drive.<br/>

GREENFIELD — Franklin County families and businesses have made sure their neighbors in need won’t go hungry this summer.

This year’s 10th annual Belly Bus Food Drive collected a record amount of 3,700 pounds of food and $3,044 in donations. The food drive surpassed last year’s which collected $3,274 pounds of food and $2,703.

The food drive is organized by the Franklin County Hunger Task Force, a subcommittee of the Franklin County Resource Network, to fill the gap during the last two weeks of summer when school-based summer meals programs end, and before the school year, which provides free and reduced-price lunches, begins.

In its 10 years, the food drive has collected 17 tons of food to be donated to the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Franklin Area Survival Center, Greenfield Salvation Army, Center for Self-Reliance, the Stone Soup Cafe and the Northfield Food Pantry.

What set this year apart was a real school bus, donated by F.M. Kuzmeskus to commemorate the 10th anniversary, that picked up donations Friday, said Holly Kosisky, coordinator of the Franklin County Resource Network and the Hunger Task Force. In the past, the bus was figurative and people collected the donations in their own vehicles.

The food drive this year also had 60 participating businesses — more than it has ever had before. Stopping at the Greenfield Stop & Shop and Foster’s Super Market also helped boost the fundraiser.

“It was a real big success,” Kosisky said.

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