Al Nelson hands a box to Mark Rondeau, who heads in the door to the new space.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The first food delivery to the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative's new pantry at 43 Eagle St. was made about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
A few hardy volunteers, including Mark Rondeau, Mark Lincourt and Al Nelson, helped the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts unload a van filled with food items that will be distributed to individuals and families in need when the new pantry, dubbed the Interfaith Initiative Friendship Center, opens later this month.
The volunteers assembled as an old-fashioned human chain; carts and such were impossible to use because of the size of the snowbanks separating the sidewalk and store entrance from the van full of food.
But hand over hand and foot by foot, they unloaded the van, stacking the boxes of pastas, canned goods, condiments, cookies, cereal and more along the wall of the storefront. Shelves and the refrigerator still need to be reassembled before the volunteers can sort and organize the food.
Rondeau, lead facilitator for the initiative, said the new pantry will be operated by his group in cooperation with Berkshire community Action Council.
Community Action will provide the necessary equipment, food and pay for the utilities at the space and the interfaith group will supply the volunteers to open and operate the pantry. Papyri Books owners Lois and Michael Daunis are donating the 800-square-foot space for an indefinite period for the project. The initial goal is to be open on Wednesdays from 11 to 2, then to add more times as the project develops.
The location will also operate as the headquarters of the Interfaith Action Initiative and will likely continue as its meeting space, if the pantry later relocates to a larger space.
Rondeau and the initiative will be working on coordinating volunteers needed for tasks ranging from food distribution to unloading and sorting delivery. For more information visit the blog or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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