18th annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon to be virtual for second year

  • Volunteers collect and sort food donations for distribution to local food pantries during the 16th annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon in 2019. This year’s event will be held virtually on May 18. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Volunteers collect and sort food donations for distribution to local food pantries during the 16th annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon in 2019. This year’s event will be held virtually on May 18. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Volunteers collect and sort food donations for distribution to local food pantries during the 16th annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon in 2019. This year’s event will be held virtually on May 18. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/28/2021 6:46:25 PM

ORANGE — Now in its 18th year of raising money for local food pantries and meal programs, a virtual version of the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon will be held on May 18.

Last year’s 17th annual Food-A-Thon, which was the first to be held virtually, raised $42,500, a number that organizers hope to match or surpass this year. Rachel Berggren, executive director of the Franklin County Community Meals Program, one of the funding recipients, said the community came together to help during a time when food insecurity rose exponentially.

“The goodwill and dedication of businesses and individuals was evident in the generous contributions made to this important cause,” Berggren said in a press release.

Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Food-A-Thon Steering Committee pivoted to hold the 17th annual event virtually. Thanks to Athol-Orange Community Television (AOTV) and WVAO 105.9 FM, there was a stream of interviews and entertainment throughout the day to highlight the event, from state and local elected officials to business owners, community members and performers.

Berggren said the event will look the same this year. The day will be broadcast live from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on AOTV Channel 1301 and radio station WVAO 105.9 FM.

“Looking forward to this year’s event, it is evident that it will continue to thrive and yield results because of those that have woven themselves into a tapestry of support for this community over the years,” Berggren said.

The first Food-A-Thon in 2004 had a somewhat simple start, raising money and collecting nonperishable food over 12 hours. Founding Food-A-Thon Steering Committee member Rick Kwiatkowski believed the Food-A-Thon would “take on a life of its own.”

“He hit that nail on the head,” Berggren said. “And although we have other challenges in our world right now, certainly taking on a life of their own, the annual Food-A-Thon event pushes forward in a positive direction, trying at every turn to help defeat food insecurity.”

Recipients of money raised during the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon are the Orange Food Pantry and the Orange community meal (both parts of the Franklin County Community Meals Program), Our Lady Immaculate Pantry in Athol, the Salvation Army Pantry and meal program in Athol, St. Vincent DePaul Pantry of St. Mary’s Church in Orange and the Good Neighbors Pantry in Wendell.

Berggren said the Food-A-Thon is a major source of support to keep these pantries and meal sites open, especially during these times of financial uncertainty. With new households coming to the pantries and feeding programs every month, the community’s support is needed more than ever, she said.

People may donate by mailing a check with “Food-A-Thon” written on the memo line to the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon’s nonprofit financial agent, Tully City Council Club Inc., at P.O. Box 484, Orange, MA 01364, or by going online to NQFoodathon.com.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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