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Greenfield’s Blessed Sacrament Church offering grocery distribution each Saturday

  • John Leary, deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenfield, and his wife, Donna, are coordinating a pickup service for grocery distribution at Beacon Field every Saturday morning until the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • John Leary, deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenfield, and his wife, Donna, are coordinating a pickup service for grocery distribution at Beacon Field every Saturday morning until the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2020 1:47:11 PM
Modified: 4/2/2020 1:47:01 PM

GREENFIELD — What would you do if you operated a charitable food-delivery service and a pandemic took the world by storm?

One option is to ask your city to loan you a baseball field so swarms of vehicles can come pick up the grub. And that’s exactly the strategy taken by John Leary, deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenfield.

For the past 12 years, Leary has run the Bread of Life Kitchen, similar to Meals on Wheels, which delivers hot, homemade meals to local seniors and housebound people. Social distancing requirements brought on by COVID-19 have forced Leary and his volunteers to temporarily alter how they help people in need, so he got permission from Mayor Roxann Wedegartner’s office to use Beacon Field to distribute groceries every Saturday morning until the pandemic is resolved starting this week.

“I just felt like we needed to do something,” Leary said this week. “We really needed to try to fill the void.”

Leary explained people are welcome to drive up the first-base side of Beacon Field with their trunks open so volunteers can safely load bags of food. The volunteers will ask people how many bags they need and the effort will operate on an honor system. It is set to begin at 10 a.m.

“We just want to fill the need that so many families are experiencing right now,” Leary explained, adding that people who cannot drive to Beacon Field should send someone who can. He said anyone with questions can call his wife, Donna, at 413-498-5065 or send an email to deaconjohnleary@gmail.com.

Leary said the Bread of Life Kitchen gets its food donations from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, which has agreed to increase the program’s allotments for the pickup service. Leary said the Bread of Life Kitchen has about 5,000 pounds of food to give away on Saturday.

Lillian Baulding, the food bank’s communications and engagement officer, said the nonprofit is happy to make accommodations.

“We’re just trilled that Blessed Sacrament is able to get more food out to the Greenfield community,” she said.

Baulding said the food bank is working to acquire more food to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic. The food bank is temporarily not accepting food donations from individuals due to safety guidelines, though people can donate money. Baulding said every dollar donated purchases four emergency meals.

Anyone can send checks or money to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, P.O. Box 160, Hatfield, MA 01038. People can also donate online at foodbankwma.org/donate/covid19.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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