5,000 bags of food collected in MLK weekend food drive

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – South Hadley High School students continued a growing annual tradition on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  For the fourth year, dozens of students, teachers and volunteers collected 5,000 paper bags, filled with donated food for the town’s pantry.

MLK ‘Bag the Community’ Food Collection day took place at South Hadley High School on Monday morning.  Mount Holyoke College students and community members helped sort and load the donated food onto a tractor trailer truck.  Organizers told 22News that during its first year, they collected 5,000 pounds of food.

“We’re hoping to collect as much as 25,000 pounds of food today. The really great thing about that is we’re giving out more than 100,000 pounds a year right now. In one day, we might collect one fifth of the whole need for the year,” said South Hadley’s Food Pantry Director, Cindy St. George.

Caitlin Kidder of Mount Holyoke College said they first became involved in this effort last year.

“Spring orientation leaders were looking for a service project for them to do. And I said ‘hey, there’s a huge project that’s been happening in South Hadley for three and a half years.  Why don’t we get on this?’ So last year we had about 70 students participate, this year we have 50,” Kidder said.

The emergency food pantry serves 190 families a year, and as many as 500 individuals a month.

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