Volunteers at the Friendship Center tally up the donations from the city's annual holiday season food drive on Friday morning.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The latest round of the annual holiday donations — 682 pounds of food — for the Friendship Center will help serve North County in the upcoming week.
"We have enough in here to take care of this week," said Mark Rondeau, the founder of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative, on Friday morning.
Rondeau explained that the Western Massachusetts Food Bank won't be delivering food during the holiday week, but this latest round of donations from the annual drive will suffice for serving next week.
The pantry, which is in its third year, serves around 130 to 205 families per week. Rondeau said the families come from varying backgrounds, including single adults, the working poor, families with children and the mentally ill.
"It's very helpful, we have an increasing necessity ... It's always good to get more food," Rondeau said.
In addition to food, this year's round of donations included more personal care items.
"SNAP benefits don't cover those things," Rondeau said.
The drive kicked off on Dec. 16 and collection boxes were set up at all the schools, City Hall, fire and police stations, the Spitzer Center and the library. The Department of Public Works picked up the food throughout Friday morning.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he was really proud of the city employees and the DPW for their donations and work toward helping the community.
Ellen Sutherland, the assistant to the school superintendent, said even though she just finished a previous fundraising drive for the United Way, everyone still chipped in to this one.
"People just come through ... The city and school officials, they just give and give and give," she said.
Rondeau said that because of Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Wednesdays, the Friendship Center will instead be open on the following Fridays, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3. The hours will still be the same — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6.
The Friendship Center is run by the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative in cooperation with the Berkshire Community Action Council and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.