On par with last year, Brown Bag Brigade in Greenfield collects 1,000 lunches

  • Franklin County Community Meals Program Executive Director Rachel Berggren packs bagged lunches into containers at the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Joe Timmins, president of the Franklin County Community Meals Program’s board of directors, helps bring Brown Bag Brigade donations inside the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Deerfield Academy’s donation of 200 bagged lunches as part of the Brown Bag Brigade charity. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday, some of which included heartfelt notes. Contributed Photo

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday. Contributed Photo

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday, some of which included heartfelt notes. Contributed Photo

  • The Franklin County Community Meals Program collected 1,000 bagged lunches during its annual Brown Bag Brigade charity on Sunday, some of which included heartfelt notes. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 2/28/2022 3:55:18 PM

GREENFIELD — The Franklin County Community Meals Program amassed a donation of 1,000 bagged lunches during this year’s Brown Bag Brigade charity event, matching last year’s total.

The magnitude of the community’s generosity was evident Sunday as volunteers rushed around, the near-constant inflow of lunch bags keeping them busy. Vehicles lined up outside the Second Congregational Church, opening their trunks to offer up nonperishables such as canned food, bagged snacks, cereal bars and more. Less than half an hour after the event’s official 4 p.m. start time, Franklin County Community Meals Program Executive Director Rachel Berggren said donors had dropped off around 759 bags.

“We had people dropping off at 3:30 p.m.,” she said. “They were already here.”

The nonprofit, which has been operating the Brown Bag Brigade charity since 2016, asked individuals and families to shop for, pack and deliver at least 10 bagged lunches to help combat local food insecurity. Donors were also encouraged to add an extra touch of love by decorating the bags. This aspect was embraced by those who participated, according to Joe Timmins, president of the Franklin County Community Meals Program’s board of directors.

“People are really excited when they give us the food,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Look at the messages we wrote!’”

Notes inscribed on the bags, often written by children, included words of encouragement to those who might need it. One message read, “You are loved! You are seen!” while another read, “The world is a better place with you in it!”

“It’s been really sweet,” Berggren added. “Children have been coming with their parents.”

One donor, former Franklin County Community Meals Program Executive Director Sharon Pleasant, said she collaborated with her granddaughter to pack 156 bagged lunches containing Chef Boyardee packets, granola bars, macaroni and cheese, and other items. As they put together the bags, she said, the two talked meaningfully about food insecurity.

“(The Brown Bag Brigade) allows a lot of people to participate without individually spending a lot of money,” Pleasant said.

In addition to generous individuals, entire organizations pitched in with large contributions. Berggren highlighted Deerfield Academy’s donation of 200 bagged lunches.

Berggren said those still looking to donate can do so for the rest of the week by bringing donations to the nonprofit’s office at 324 Wells St. during business hours or to the Second Congregational Church on Wednesday between 4 and 6 p.m. Alternatively, those interested in making a donation can contact the Franklin County Community Meals Program at 413-772-1033 to set up a drop-off time.

Community meal sites

In addition to having bagged lunches readily available at the Second Congregational Church, the meals program operates the following meal sites to distribute food:

■Mondays, 4 to 6 p.m. — Our Lady of Peace Church, 90 Seventh St. in Turners Falls

■Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. — Second Congregational Church, 116 Court Square in Greenfield

■Thursdays, 5 to 5:30 p.m. — Orange United Methodist Church, 104 South Main St. in Orange

■Fourth Thursday of the month, 5 to 6 p.m. — Trinitarian Congregational Church, 147 Main St. in Northfield

Reach Julian Mendoza
at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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