Local food pantry feeding western Massachusetts residents

All the food stays local and the food bank distributes it

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Ocean State Job Lot fed the western Massachusetts community on Thursday.

One of 20 tractor trailers was filled with food donations for delivery all across the Northeast.

For nearly a quarter of a million people in western Massachusetts, this truck represents the opportunity to put food on their table. Foods with a long shelf life and high nutrition like peanut butter and beans, were off-loaded.

The shipment of donations is part of 8 million pounds of food that has been donated by Ocean State Job Lot to pantries and food banks across New England.

All the food stays local and the food bank distributes it.

“We will distribute this food to the pantries and meal sites so that they can get it out to the people in need,” said Chris Wojcik, Marketing and Communication Manager at Food Bank of western Massachusetts. “Additionally we can distribute this food through our own mobile food bank and our brown bag food for elders program.”

Wojcik told 22News as the weather gets cooler, the need becomes greater for families who will have to choose between heat and food.

Ocean State asked customers to donate $1 from November to January and they raised half a million dollars to buy the food.

Ocean State buyers used their connections to stretch each dollar.

“Our buyers from our company,” said Allen Biron, General Manager at Ocean State Job Lot. “With their contacts for the wholesale prices, they make that dollar stretch three times.

September is Hunger Action Month with lots of activities to look forward to.