Belly Bus Food Drive to return

  • Recorder Staff/Tom RelihanSara Cummings, Community Action's Director of Community Services and Asset Development, accepts a food donation at the Fill the Belly Bus event outside Foster's Supermarket in Greenfield Friday afternoon. Tom Relihan

  • Volunteers organize donations of food coming into the Greenfield Town Common on Friday Afternoon to fill The Belly Bus Food Drive organized by the Franklin County hunger Task Force that will distribute the food where it is needed through local food pantries and meals programs.Recorder/Paul Franz Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/2/2017 11:26:42 PM

GREENFIELD — Two buses will stop at sites across the county to collect food donations for the 13th annual Fill the Belly Bus Community Food Drive on Friday.

The buses, donated by F.M. Kuzmeskus and the Franklin Regional Transit Authority, will stop at locations including the Greenfield Stop and Shop, Foster’s Supermarket, Food City and Yankee Candle Village before a gathering at the Greenfield Town Common from 3 to 5 p.m. Congressman Jim McGovern will be on site to help kick off the event.

Last year, the program collected more than 4,553 pounds of food and over $2,800, which was distributed among four local food pantries and meal programs — Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry, Greenfield Salvation Army, Franklin County Community Meals Program and the Franklin Area Survival Center. This year’s drive will benefit the same programs, as well as Stone Soup Cafe.

Justin Costa, program coordinator for the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantries, said the drive first began when several Franklin County programs came together, realizing they were all a lot busier at the end of August — during a gap between the end of the summer youth meal program and the beginning of the school year.

“It’s important to get the community together,” Costa said. “The faith-based community, the business community and countless organizations join in and support some of the great programs that are here in the county to help households and families in need.”

He said a recent study by the nonprofit Feeding America found that one in six children in Franklin County are food insecure.

Over the last 12 years, the Belly Bus Food Drive has collected more than 22 tons of food and thousands of dollars for local emergency food programs, with the goal of stocking food pantry shelves during the two-week gap between summer meal programs for low-income children and the start of school meal programs in the fall.

“It continues to grow and we continue to rely on some great partners who have been committed in their support to this drive and to our mission year after year,” Costa said. “It just seems that it’s one of those events that each year, we continue to find ways to collaborate more throughout the community to help get the word out and to help gain support.”

This year, contributions came from 40 local businesses and organizations — from Main Street beauty salons to major employers like long-time supporters Judd Wire, Bete Fog Nozzle, Greenfield Savings Bank and Greenfield Cooperative Bank.

Individuals are invited to drop off nonperishable food donations, personal care supplies and diapers on the Greenfield Town Common this Friday between 3 and 5 p.m. Cash donations are also welcome. Checks should be made out to “Community Action” with “Hunger Task Force” in the memo line. Many participating businesses have donation jars at the register.

Food and cash donations will also be collected Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coop Concert in Energy Park.


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