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Local Food Pantries in Need of Donations

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) –Volunteers are busy bustling around Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee, preparing food for the needy families who walk through their doors.

It’s Lori Tisdell’s very first day volunteering. Taking culinary classes at Holyoke Community College, she’s already elbow deep making salad for the pantry’s nightly dinners.

“Part of it is co-op, for a co-op class I’m taking, and also part of it is over the last couple years I kind of realized I wanted to go into social welfare and make a difference with my cooking,” Tisdell smiled.

Lorraine’s is able to run with the help of over 200 volunteers a month, and donations from local farmers and businesses like Panera Bread and BJ’s.

However, donations from the community have slowed down since the holiday season.

“We’re seeing, on average, 40-50 families a day. So that has gone up tremendously, because the need is higher, the food is going faster. It’s very difficult. I get calls all the time saying ‘My food’s gone, can I come in a little early?’ said Executive Director Kim Goulette.

The skyrocketing demand is also up because kids aren’t getting free breakfasts and lunches at school.

Even so, Lorraine’s isn’t cutting back how much food a family can get although it looks like they’re well-stocked, the shelves are always clean by the end of the day.

The most popular items; “Your typical canned meats, especially when kids are home from school, canned tuna, ravioli, that goes over well,” Goulette added.

Lorraine’s is also looking for clothing donations, anything for men, women, and children that are in season because they don’t have any storage space.

Lorraine’s says they’re looking for volunteers and chefs who can cook on a large scale, for more than 100 people.

If you’re interested, contact Jamin Wright, at (413) 592-9528, x2.

If you’d like to donate to local pantries, just stop by our studios at 1300 Liberty St. in Springfield tomorrow between 5am and 6:30 pm for the ABC40 Food Drive.

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