United Way sets goal to collect $3.8K, 325 bags of food at Supper for Six drive

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-07-2023 11:07 AM

GREENFIELD — Though many students eagerly await school vacations, these breaks in the academic year can pose a challenge to those relying on free school breakfasts and lunches for much of their diet.

It was with this in mind in 2005 that Women’s Way, the affinity group of the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region, decided to organize its first Supper for Six food drive to help ensure local food pantries have enough to offer during the busy February school vacation week. The 19th such drive is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 15.

Community members and local workplaces are invited to visit the United Way’s Greenfield office at 51 Davis St. to drop off reusable grocery bags filled with nonperishable dinner ingredients — such as rice and canned proteins, pasta and canned vegetables, and nut butters and jelly — to feed a family of six. The food drive will be moved to Feb. 16 if it snows heavily the day prior.

“The big goal of the drive is to help families in the area during a time that a regular food source isn’t running,” explained Jenny Coeur, program manager of the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region. “We’re trying to close that gap a little bit.”

Supper for Six will again take place as a drive-thru event, as has been the tradition since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donors are asked to have their bags be easily accessible from the trunks or back seats of their vehicles for volunteers and staff to gather. Anyone who would like to donate bags but is unable to make the drive-thru event can bring them to the United Way office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Additionally, all monetary donations made by check or online at bit.ly/3Yl9wj2 go toward purchasing additional food for distribution.

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Last year, United Way community partners in Franklin County distributed more than 300 bags and $3,500 in cash donations collected through Supper for Six. Women’s Way is raising the bar this year, and hopes to gather 325 bags and $3,800. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, Montague Catholic Social Ministries, The United Arc, the Mary Lyon Foundation, the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Greenfield’s Salvation Army and Community Action Pioneer Valley’s Center for Self-Reliance will then distribute donations to local families before and during February vacation.

“It really makes a big difference in the lives of the children,” said Charity Day, who has chaired Women’s Way for about six years.

Day mentioned The Bement School in Deerfield regularly donates 100 bags or more, and faculty and staff at the independent day and boarding school communicate with students to find out what nutritious snacks children the students’ age might enjoy.

“They do an excellent job,” Day said of The Bement School.

Day added that she has received wonderful feedback from parents and children over the years. She also mentioned the number of monetary donations increased during the pandemic because fewer people wanted to go shopping in public places.

Individuals or businesses looking for more information can call 413-584-3962 or email info@uw-fh.org.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.

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