Virtual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon kicks off 12-hour campaign Tuesday

  • Community members and 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. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Community members and 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. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Community members and 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. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Report
Published: 5/17/2021 3:12:31 PM

ORANGE — Kicking off at 6 a.m. Tuesday, the 12-hour-long 18th annual North Quabbin Food-A-Thon is being held virtually for the second year in a row, online and via television and radio broadcasts.

The fundraising program will air on Athol-Orange Community Television (AOTV) Channel 1301 and radio station WVAO 105.9 FM. It can also be accessed online at aotv13.org/live. Donations will be accepted via Paypal or Venmo at nqfoodathon.com; by mail to fiscal sponsor, Tully City Council Club Inc. at P.O. Box 484, Orange, MA 01364; or by calling 978-249-4470 to make a pledge during the live event.

According to Rachel Berggren, executive director of the Franklin County Community Meals Program, one of the funding recipients and organizers of the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon, there is no food drop-off this year, due to pandemic restrictions, but Hannaford Supermarket in Athol is accepting donations of cash and goods throughout the month of May.

Tuesday’s festivities feature interviews with elected officials and community leaders, plus updates on local food security efforts and musical performances by North Quabbin artists. The event will conclude with a closing Zoom call with volunteers and guests at 5:50 p.m., where the final tally of donations will be announced. Berggren said the goal is to raise more than the $42,500 that was collected last year, which supported five local food and meal programs.

Hosts and interviewers for the 18th annual fundraiser include longtime local broadcasters Jay Deane, Dean Collins and Bonnie Benjamin. Among the guests and performers scheduled are U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, state Sens. Anne Gobi and Jo Comerford, state Rep. Susannah Whipps, Athol Selectboard member Rebecca Bialecki, Wendell Selectboard member Gillian Budine and Athol Town Manager Shaun Suhoski.

Participating business leaders include Joe Goody of Hannaford Supermarket, Peter Gerry of Pete’s Tire Barn, Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Co., Stephanie Cook and Terry Bouchard of The Corner Cafe, Win Brown of Heywood Healthcare, Deb Vescovi and Lori Phillips from Athol Savings Bank, bankHometown’s Robert Morton, Demetri Typadis of Oak Square Partners, and the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce’s Missi Eaton.

Community and nonprofit leaders will include Heather Bialecki-Canning of the North Quabbin Community Coalition, Mez Ziemba and Cliff Fournier from the Wendell Good Neighbors Food Pantry, Rachel Berggren and Mary Bell of the Franklin County Community Meals Program and Orange Food Pantry, Todd and Angela Duga and the Rev. Shaun O’Connor of St. Mary’s Church, Kena Viscovi of Valuing Our Children, Steve Raymond and Dan Parsons of Athol Salvation Army, Gayle Bassett of Our Lady Immaculate Church, Christina Maxwell of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Kelly Knower of the Athol Area YMCA, and Carol Courville of AOTV, WVAO and the Athol-Orange Rotary Club.

North Quabbin musicians include Doc Arsenault, Ryan Hood, Tessy & Ann, Cosmic Moxa, Sweet Euphoria, Scott Alan Savoy, Winds of Faith, JB Murray, Colin Boutwell, Samatha Farrell, The Can Collectors and Adam Bergeron.

For more information on the North Quabbin Food-A-Thon, how to participate and the five local food programs the event supports, visit nqfoodathon.com.


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