Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive

Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive

Every $1 donated through the Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive equals $13 worth of food distributed to families in need (the equivalent of nearly 10 meals!). In other words, your $1 dollar donated through our virtual food drive to The Food Bank of Western MA will feed 10 people a much needed meal!

According to the Food Bank of Western MA, one in eight people in our region—at least 135,000 region-wide—struggles to put a meal on the table or has to choose between paying for utilities or buying food. Many more may miss meals every now and then, or rely on alternative ways to get food they can’t purchase, like dumpster diving or visiting a meal site. Tens of thousands of families, elders and children in our region daily rely on emergency food assistance, such as community pantries or meal sites. Hunger can strike anyone, including working families, elders on limited incomes and people faced with a sudden illness or layoff.

This holiday season, Hilltown Families is hosting a Virtual Holiday Food Drive in support of food security in our region. While organizing food drives have many terrific benefits and are great ways to bring families together in a community gathering space to support western Massachusetts residents in need, there are many benefits of a virtual food drive too, including: cost savings to The Food Bank of Western MA in staff time; no extra driving for participants; and accessible to families near and far who want to support food drives in our region…

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How to Hold a Holiday Food Drive, Anytime of the Year!

Community Service Learning: Food Drives

What’s in the very back of your pantry? It’s likely filled with back-ups of items that your family eats often, like peanut butter, pasta, and dry beans. While it’s good to have extras of these things for times when there’s a lag between grocery story trips (or winter storms!), items like this – nonperishable and in sealed packages – can be the perfect starting place for a community food drive.

Food drives are just one of the many ways to help support those in need within your community, and food banks and survival centers are generally so easy to support and access that even teens and tweens can facilitate food drives at their schools or in their neighborhoods. GenerationOn, an organization that works to inspire and support youth in engaging in community service projects, offers simple (yet comprehensive) instructions for creating your own food drive. Using these steps, kids will not only be able to successfully collect food to donate, but they will learn and practice useful skills that will help them be successful in completing future service projects as well…

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Support Local Food Drives

Support Local Food Drives

"More families than ever before are seeking food assistance across western Massachusetts. Combine stagnant wages, unemployment, rising food prices, and exponential increases in heating costs, and the result is that many households just can’t make ends meet." - Consider donating food this holiday season and/or conducting a food drive in your neighborhood, office or school.

The Amherst Survival Center distributes turkeys and Thanksgiving food boxes to over 350 local families every year!  However, this cannot happen without generous donations from the community.

Currently, the center is seeking donations of 100 frozen turkeys, canned goods (especially holiday items such as pie fillings), boxed items (like macaroni and cheese), and/or gift certificates to local grocery stores so that families can purchase their own food. – For more information and to check on the center’s needs, call at 549-3968 or e-mail Tracey at tracey@amherstsurvival.org.


One great way to collect food for the survival center would be to hold a food drive within your neighborhood- get your kids to help organize it!  They’ll learn a lot and you’ll collect tons of items. The Food Bank of Western Mass offers these tips for conducting a food drive:

  • Create a theme.
  • Set a date for well in advance.
  • Publicize!
  • Educate others about why this is important.
  • For canned food drives, please keep collection containers to a size that can be lifted.

For more information and support on putting together a food drive in your neighborhood, call The Food Bank of Western Mass at 413-247-9738.

  • Know of a food drive in your community? Share it HERE.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Reese Derrenberge]

Food Drive for Families in the Hilltowns

GRHS Student Council Sponsoring Annual Food Drive

The Gateway Regional High School Student Council is sponsoring its annual Food Drive to assist local families. Collections will begin on November 3rd and continue through November 19th. Students will bring donations to the cafeteria during lunch, where student council members will be available to collect items.

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Millions of American Children Under Five Are Food Insecure

One in Six Young Children Live at Risk of Hunger in 26 U.S. States According to New Feeding America Report: More Than 3.5 Million Children Under the Age of Five Are Food Insecure

One in six young children live on the brink of hunger in 26 states in the U.S., according to a new report issued today by Feeding America. The rate of food insecurity in young children is 33 percent higher than in U.S. adults, where one in eight live at risk of hunger. Click HERE to read the report.

Food Drive in Cummington

This Saturday, May 30th, 2009, the Hilltown Food Pantry will be collecting food donations for their Kids’ Summer Food Program during the Hilltown Spring Festiva in Cummington, MA. Click HERE for more details.

Food Drive for the Kids’ Summer Food Program

Hilltown Food Pantry donations to be collected at Hilltown Spring Festival May 30, 2009

The Hilltown Food Pantry, located in Goshen, MA, will be collecting donations of food and money for its Kids’ Summer Food Program at the Hilltown Spring Festival, May 30, 2009 from 10am to 6pm, at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA.

People attending the Festival, or those just passing by, are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations. Especially needed are tuna, macaroni and cheese, cereal, soups, canned fruit and vegetables, canned or dry pasta, pasta sauce, juice, peanut butter and jelly.

The Hilltown Spring Festival will also include two music stages with music all day, children’s activities, food from local vendors, displays of school art, arts and crafts vendors, and a Focus on Sustainability. Admission is free; the parking fee is $8 per car.

The Hilltown Food Pantry is run by the Northampton Survival Center. It is open on Wednesday afternoons, and provides food to Hilltowners over 2,600 times per year.

How to Organize a Food Drive

Organize a Food Drive

Food Drive at the Meekins LibraryOrganizing a food drive with your family, kids school or community can be very rewarding volunteer activity.  Click here to see if there are any food drives happening now in Western Massachusetts. If you want to organize a new food drive, see below!

To make your food drive a success, follow these handy tips.  For more information or to arrange a drop-off time in Western Massacusetts, call The Food Bank at 413-247-9738.  If you live outside of Western Massachusetts, call the Food Bank in your area.

  1. Create a theme for your food drive.
    Run a food drive in connection with a special event or holiday celebration.
  2. Set a date for your food drive.
    A two-week food drive is usually about right. Shorter food drives need to be very well publicized to be effective.
  3. Publicize, publicize, publicize!
    Posters, flyers, e-mails, newsletter articles, payroll inserts, and public service announcements are all effective ways to let people know about your food drive. It helps to provide people with a contact person within the organization who can answer questions. The Food Bank can also send a speaker to your organization to talk about the issue of hunger and what we all can do about it.
  4. Choose a method for collecting food.
    Please keep collection containers to a reasonable size.  Remember that even a small box will become quite heavy when filled with canned food.  Large boxes and bins are very hard to move once they’re filled with food.  Please ask food donors to avoid glass containers if at all possible.
  5. Double the value of your donation by delivering it directly to The Food Bank or a local food pantry! If you let us know when you’re dropping off your food, you can also arrange a tour of the warehouse. If you cannot deliver food to The Food Bank, we will refer you to one of our partner programs, which might be closer to you.  If a pick-up by The Food Bank is necessary, arrangements must be made well in advance.
  6. Thank everyone in your organization for their participation.
  7. If your organization’s newsletter or local paper publishes anything regarding your food drive, please send us a copy for our records. Thank you!

Current list of most-needed items:

  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Rice and canned soup or stew
  • Spaghetti and canned spaghetti sauce
  • Canned pasta meals
  • Tuna
  • Low-sugar cereals
  • Canned beans

City School, Country School Honor Martin Luther King Jr. in Western Mass

City School and Country School Honor
The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Through Community Engagement in Western Mass

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., students at The Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School in semi-rural Haydenville, MA and the students at the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence in urban Springfield, MA will take part in a joint celebration and day of service. The City School / Country School project is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA).

Both schools have initiated a food drive to gather supplies for the food pantry at the MLK Community Center in Springfield which they will deliver on Friday, Jan 16. The full student bodies of both schools – over 400 children – and their teachers will come to the Community Center that morning for a participatory musical celebration of Dr. King’s life and work. Following the celebration, 4th and 5th grade students from both schools will go to the food pantry to help with the distribution of the collected foods and the 6-8th graders from Hilltown will return to the MLK School to volunteer time in the classrooms of the younger students there.

On Monday January 19, the choruses from both schools will be part of the Opening Ceremonies at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, MA.

Deirdre Arthen, the Community Coordinator at the Hilltown Charter School says,  ”This is a wonderful opportunity for all of our students to embody the dreams of Martin Luther King by connecting personally with one another and by offering their time and effort to better the lives of others”.

“MSA is pleased to support the City School / Country School Project during this important and symbolic time.  We hope this resource will enable the schools to help their students learn that they can help meet real community needs in conjunction with the King Day of Service.  We also hope that this project will provide a springboard for continued service throughout the year”, said Emily Haber, CEO of the Massachusetts Service Alliance.

The Corporation for National and Community Service selected Massachusetts to highlight the King Day of Service, encouraging individuals and communities to view MLK Day as a “Day On” rather than a “Day Off.”  Boosted by President-elect Obama’s call for Americans to serve on King Day and throughout the year, community-based organizations across the Commonwealth came out in record numbers to address need.

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