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Students Gather on MLK day; Collect 25,000 Pounds of Food


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SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB)- It was a day off for students on this Martin Luther King Jr. day, but the parking lot at South Hadley High School was filled. For the fourth year, volunteers gathered to collect bags of food for the town’s Neighbors to Neighbors pantry.

5,500 empty bags were left on doorsteps this weekend in South Hadley, with hopes they would be filled by pick-up time this morning. “There’s quite a few cars. Personally I’ve picked up bags out of 30 or 40 cars already,” says Senior at South Hadley High, Patrick Sears.

A success for sure! In no time at all shopping bags overflowing with non-perishables lined the halls. But it was a good kind of mess, which was cleaned up with a little help. “How many volunteers total? I would say probably around 300,” says Caitlin Kidder.

The sorting was organized chaos. Everyone worked together efficiently.
“We’re sorting cans, we got peanut butter, a lot of pasta and not enough boxes at all,” says High School Junior Dante Pio. Then the bins were brought outside and tightly packed into the truck. 25 thousand pounds of food total.

“We’re expecting that we’ll be collecting as much as 1/5 of this whole year’s food distribution today,” says Cindy St. George of Neighbors to Neighbors Pantry.

Consensus is that all were happy to be at school on this holiday, knowing one day of work will help their own neighbors all year long. The food pantry in town feeds over 500 people a month.