On Thursday, Oct. 27, a team from Republic Services, Inc. will provide the South Congregational Food Pantry with a $1,000 donation to assist the much-needed work of the organization. The donation is one in a series of contributions that the company will make to local groups throughout the year.
The event will take place at 3:30 at the church located at 110 South St, it will feature a presentation of an oversized check as well as food donations to the pantry.
“We know there are many needs in the community and each year we work in partnership with the City to identify where we can have the biggest impact on those at risk. The South Congregational Food Pantry needs all of our support, especially at this time of the year when the need is critical for hundreds of families,” said Dan Higgins, the company’s Northeast Area Municipal Services Manager.
In addition to the food pantry, the list, compiled with input from Mayor Linda Tyer, includes: Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC), Boy Scouts, Christian Center, George B. Crane Memorial Center, YMCA/Marilyn Hamilton Literacy Program, Rites of Passage Empowerment Program (R.O.P.E), Youth Alive, and the Pittsfield 4th of July Parade.
Tyer commended Republic Services, which is the city’s contract hauler for waste, for its support of community initiatives.
“It is deeply gratifying to know that the City of Pittsfield has generous partners such as Republic Services who are ready and willing to help our community be the best it can be,” Tyer said. “It is my hope that each contribution will do its part to meet the varying needs in our city.”
The decision to supplement the contribution with food donations was an easy one, said Republic’s General Manager Deb Bolesky. “Our local employees understand the need in the community, it was great to see them step up and collect and donate non-perishable food items to support the pantry along with our company’s donation,” she said.
For the food pantry, these funds are crucial resources that help to ensure its operations, says the church’s pastor, the Rev. Joel Huntington. The pantry receives 500 visits a week from community members who are able to take what they need based on an honor system.
Each month, the pantry receives 38,000 pounds of food from the Western Mass Food Bank; the $1,000 donation will go towards food and other items that aren’t provided in the shipment from the food bank.
“These funds help the food pantry to keep going, it’s just awesome,” said Huntington. “The people I see are working for $10-$12 an hour, often not full-time, or those living on Social Security, grandmothers raising grandchildren, or those with health crises. From my angle, this work is not an expression of social services, it’s an expression of communion.”
Huntington credits the pantry’s success to the dedication and commitment of its volunteers, many of whom are affiliated with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and put in upwards of 1,000 hours of service each month. For her efforts, Mary Wheat, the pantry’s volunteer site manager, was honored as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women 2015 class of Unsung Heroines.
Higgins expects the next donation to be presented to the George B. Crane Memorial Center in support of community members struggling with addiction recovery and life-altering issues. “Our hope is that each of our donations not only assist these community groups as they provide much needed programs for the community, but that they also bring to light the fine work that these groups do and how critical it is that we all support them.”
“As committed and dedicated members to the community, we take our role of making a difference in the communities we serve seriously. In addition to providing residents with the safest, most reliable, and highest quality recycling and waste collection services each and every day, our community partnership program is an example of our solid commitment to and partnership with the Pittsfield community.”
For more information, please call Roberta McCulloch-Dews, Director of Administrative Services, at 413-499-9322.