‘Every little bit helps’: Northfield Elementary students donate over 600 items to food pantry

  • Northfield Food Pantry manager Linda Chapin accepts non-perishable food from Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders as part of the school’s food drive on Wednesday. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA 

  • Northfield Food Pantry manager Linda Chapin organizes non-perishable food donated as part of a food drive from the Northfield Elementary School on Wednesday. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders pass peanut butter, pasta and other non-perishables down a human-chain leading to the Northfield Food Pantry on Wednesday. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders gather in the Northfield Food Pantry on Wednesday, where they dropped off more than 600 items as part of the annual school-wide food drive. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • Fourth-grade teacher Carolyn Baskowski leads the human-chain as students and faculty deliver more than 600 items to the Northfield Food Pantry on Wednesday. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders donated more than 600 non-perishable food items to the Northfield Food Pantry as part of their annual food drive on Wednesday. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • When the weather is more cooperative, the entire Northfield Elementary School forms a human-chain along the sidewalk from the school to the Northfield Food Pantry, passing along the donated items one by one. This year, due to rain, Wednesday’s drop-off was conducted by the fourth-grade class alone. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2019 6:03:05 PM
Modified: 11/22/2019 6:02:52 PM

NORTHFIELD — Northfield Elementary School students braved the rain Wednesday to donate more than 600 items to the Northfield Food Pantry as part of the school’s sixth annual food drive.

Every year, Northfield Elementary spends the first few weeks of November collecting items to donate to the pantry, located within the Dickinson Memorial Library. When the weather is more cooperative, the entire school forms a human-chain along the sidewalk starting at the school and continuing all the way to the library, passing along the donated items one by one.

This year, however, due to rain, the drop off was conducted by the fourth-grade class alone. The fourth-graders formed a smaller chain, beginning at the side entrance of the library and traveling through the basement into the food pantry.

Still, students said it was fun to get out of the classroom and participate in the community service event. The effort was originally started by former fourth-grade teacher Nolan Kitfield and current fourth-grade teacher Carolyn Baskowski as a way to help the local community.

“We thought the fourth-graders were at a great age for it,” Baskowski explained.

The event continues to serve as a sort of rite of passage for the fourth-grade class, which spearheads collection efforts. Students went to each classroom to proudly announce they raised approximately 620 items for their donation before the drop-off on Wednesday.

Principal Megan Desmarais, Baskowski and fellow fourth-grade teacher Elizabeth Aekus, custodian Peter Blake and other Northfield Elementary faculty members then walked with the children to load the food into the pantry.

Students passed peanut butter, pasta and other non-perishables down the line. They stacked macaroni and cheese and cans of beans, quickly sorting the hundreds of items as they went, with help from Northfield Food Pantry manager Linda Chapin and Dickinson Memorial Library’s Programming Librarian Matt Atwood.

Chapin explained the food pantry serves Northfield families, and anyone can fill out an application to get food. The pantry is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and people are not limited to coming on just one of the weeks. The pantry is a member of the Western Massachusetts Food Bank and is sponsored by the First Parish Unitarian Church.

The yearly donation from Northfield Elementary provides a needed boost for families who use the pantry ahead of the holiday season. In addition to food, Chapin said the pantry is always in need of items that can’t be bought with food stamps or at the Western Massachusetts Food Bank. This includes deodorant, toilet paper, toothpaste or other hygiene products. The pantry is also looking for more organic and gluten free foods as specific dietary needs become more prevalent.

“We’re small, but people come. They need help,” Chapin said. “The people of Northfield have been very generous. ... Every little bit helps.”

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.


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