South Hadley hosts annual “Bag the community”

Last year the school raised over 12,000 pounds of food

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – South Hadley is holding its seventh annual “Bag the community” event this year participating in our country’s National Day of Service.

Tara Cole, a teacher at the school, said, “About seven years ago we started an initiative to help our high school students become involved in our community and get a higher sense of community service and what that means. And over the last seven years we’ve really evolved the program.”

It includes people of all ages. On Saturday morning, groups gathered at the South Hadley High School and went out to drop off paper bags to 6000 residences throughout the community.

When residents open up the bag they can put any non-perishable food items they want inside, and it includes toiletries. Last year the school raised over 12,000 pounds of food. This year the students already gathered together about 5000 cans of food before these bags were even open.

On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, the volunteers will go back out and collect the bags filled with food.  22News followed a group of eighth graders as they made their deliveries.

Maddie Foley, and eighth grade student, told 22News “Some families don’t have what other families do and they need and they need help getting food that the need.”

And the reception from residents is mostly positive.

Another student, Paige Marjanski, said, “A few people we meet at the door and we tell them what it is and they seem really happy about it.”

Allie LaPorte, also a student said, “It’s fun for me. Just to be with my friends and it’s kind of a fun way to spend my morning.”

22News spoke with Nicole Sanford, of South Hadley, who received a bag on her doorstep.

Sanford said, “I think it’s great it’s a great way to support the community and help out people in need.”

The food goes to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry, and makes up about 35% of the food distributed to the community throughout the year.