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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Four-Wheelin' For Food

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dean Kapura of Farmington, Conn. and Alan Laidlaw participated during a 2005 food drive that benefited the Berkshire Community Action's North Adams-based Northern Berkshire Community Action food pantry.
North Adams - Sometimes, the rides are just-for-fun and sometimes, the rides are to say "thanks."

Members of several New England-based four-wheel drive off-road riding clubs spend hours traveling along Northern Berkshire roads and trails and the permission to access numerous regional properties is deeply appreciated by club members.

On Nov. 4, the Connecticut-based CTJEEP club, in conjunction with additional East Coast Four-Wheel Drive Association [EC4WDA]region D organizations, will again deliver volumes of donated food items to Marie Harpin for use at the Northern Berkshire Community Action food pantry.

Public Welcome To Contribute

Harpin expects to meet club members at the Center Street parking area at the rear of 85 Main St. at about 9 a.m.. Club members have volunteered to carry donated food items to a fourth-floor NBCA office.

Food donations are required as an "entry fee" for a four-wheel drive trail riding event that will begin once the food is delivered to Harpin. Club members must register for the ride.

The public is welcome to bring donated food items or cash donations to the site.

A Big Boost

A similar drive in November 2005 brought a fully-loaded pick-up truck and Jeep to the agency. Several hundred pounds of food were added to the pantry. Club members also presented Harpin with a $168 check and a $26 cash donation.

The support offers significant assistance to the NBCA food pantry and the families helped by the hunger-fighting program, Harpin said.

"It's a big boost for us, especially with the holidays coming," she said. "These folks really want to be a part of this community and I think it's great that they have found such a positive way to be part of the community."

A 50/50 raffle has been planned by club members to offer additional benefit to the food pantry.

Club president Michael Chapline offered information about the ride and food donation on a www.eastern4wheelers.com Internet web site.

"Our donation goes right to the [NBCA] food bank in North Adams," Chapline wrote on the site. "There is no minimum size donation but be as generous as you possibly can be. Remember, this is a benefit to a community that supports us."

"We are urging the public to join us in our effort to stock the cupboards of the NBCA as the holiday season approaches."

Acceptable donations from club members or from the public include non-perishable canned or boxed food items, gift cards in any amount from the Big Y or Stop & Shop supermarkets, or cash.

Items that require refrigeration cannot be accepted.

In 2005, over 50 four-wheel vehicle aficionados participated in the ride and donations. During past years, CTJEEP club members have also participated in annual trail and road clean-ups that have benefited the Notch Road area as well as parts of Bennington and Stamford, Vt..

During a previous interview, Chapline spoke about the clubs and their desire to help the communities that permit them to enjoy their sport.

"This association is a big association with a lot of smaller clubs," Chapline has said. "At least once or twice a month we're in the Northern Berkshires, Southern Vermont, and we appreciate being able to come up here. We believe in giving something back to the communities that allow us to do what we love to do."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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