The Pepperell Community has established a tradition of strong support for PACH Outreach in preparation for holiday and winter needs. And this Autumn was no different. The many families who dropped donations off at PACH's annual Drive-thru Food Drive in September added just over 100 bags and boxes of groceries to the pantry shelves. On Saturday November 7th, the Pepperell Fire Department held a Stuff-a-Truck Food Drive at the Jersey Street Station in conjunction with their Open House events. At the end of the day, Engine 1 delivered 14 bags of donations to PACH.
On Thanksgiving Eve, friends and families gathered at Rise and Shine Fitness in downtown Pepperell for the studio's 6th Annual Pre-Thanks-giving Sweatfest. Participants received a $5 discount on the class fee in exchange for a food or monetary donation to PACH Outreach. A portion of the class fees also came to PACH with the boxes of food and money collected throughout the month (pictured at left with studio co-owner Anne Zimmer). Around the corner at Pepperell Beverage, customers and specialty whiskey collectors were purchasing raffle tickets during Thanksgiving week for a chance to purchase a bottle of rare and highly coveted Pappy Van Winkle's Bourbon Whiskey for a reasonable price. All raffle proceeds went to PACH for holiday and winter pantry purchases.
Meanwhile, Varnum Brook Elementary School's annual Turkey Trot Food Drive kicked off at the beginning of November, sponsored this year by Jennifer Fournier's third grade class. Students, staff, and families contributed hundreds of food and personal care items which were delivered to PACH on November 19th in 47 chock-full cartons (a few seen below). The school has conducted this drive annually for several years, traditonally one of the largest collections of food donations the pantry receives each year. On the first weekend of December, Sarah Revis--Pepperell Ambassador for statewide Project 351--and a classmate could be found outside Donelans Market collecting food and monetary donations for PACH in conjunction with a food drive at North Middlesex Regional High School. Thank you to the entire Varnum Brook Middle School community, Ms. Revis and her high school classmates, the Pepperell fire fighters, Rise and Shine Fitness, and Pepperell Beverage for orchestrating these much appreciated food drives and fundraisers!
The PACH Outreach Board of Directors hosted about 30 of the pantry's regular volunteers at their annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception, held at North Middlesex Savings Bank from 6-8 pm on Wednesday October 18. Finger sandwiches, fruit, cake, and drinks were provided by the bank. Board President Mary Feeley thanked all present for their tireless work in the pantry month after month, and introduced and specially thanked former and present Pantry Coordinators Clara Couture, Robin Crocker, and Lisa Richards; former and new Office Coordinators, Joan Ux and Janice Young; and Greater Boston Food Bank/USDA Coordinator Diane Karr, as well as Volunteer Coordinator Judy Duggan, who was not present.
Many others enjoying this event work weekly or monthly as food distributors or office representatives during weekly pantry service hours; heat program counselors; cleaners/shelvers of food donations; delivery people for store donations or distributions to shut-in clients; delivery drivers, loaders, sorters & baggers for the monthly Greater Boston Food Bank orders; Holiday Basket Program organizers & distributors; and fullfilling many other responsibilities to meet our clients' needs. KUDOS TO ALL! PACH could not serve our community without you!
June 2015Throughout the past several years, PACH Outreach has seen that the youth of Pepperell consistently demonstrate as much willingness to support PACH Outreach as any of their parents and adult leaders, as evidenced by two groups of students who participated this June in fundraisers for PACH. Each year teenagers in the Pepperell Christian Fellowship Youth Group participate in a 30-Hour Famine to raise money for a charity of their choice. This June, twelve Fellowship Youth Group members worked at various tasks in the PACH pantry during their fast, then donated the proceeds earned from their supporters to PACH's Treasury. In the same month, a younger group of Pepperell students ran a lemonade stand outside Donelan's for several hours to raise money for PACH. THANK YOU from PACH Outreach to these outstanding young people who dedicated their time and energy to helping our neighbors in need!
Many PACH supporters gathered in and around the solariam at Bailey's Bar & Grille in Townsend on Monday, June 22, to get to know each other, chat, and enjoy samples of four different wines and four paired appetizers during PACH Outreach's 2nd annual Wine & Pairings Fundraiser. The event was organized by Bailey's owner Pam Mariano, and appetizers were prepared by Bailey's chef. Local musician Tim Rollo donated his time to provide background music for the event. Tickets were sold for $30 at the door and ahead of time at several Pepperell businesses, with all proceeds going into PACH Outreach's Building Fund. A great time was had by all! Many thanks go to Pam Mariano, Bailey's chef and servers, and Tim Rollo for making the fundraiser a big success.
Along with their regular mail deliveries and letter pick-ups, the Pepperell Post Office Mail Carriers cheerfully collected hundreds of food items left by residents in or on their mailboxes on Saturday, May 9th. At day's end, just over 140 bags of groceries were delivered to the PACH Pantry by Pepperell Carriers and PACH volunteers, most of those bags chock full of items to stock PACH's shelves for the summer. THANK YOU PEPPERELL CARRIERS and POST OFFICE for again making this growing annual drive a big success! Thanks also to all residents who donated to the drive and to Pantry Coordinator Clara Couture and the dedicated crew of volunteers who helped her sort all the groceries and stock them on the shelves during the following couple days. PACH couldn't do it without you!
When Pepperell Resident Janet Bohling was asked to tell us why she had decided to join the PACH Board of Directors, she responded as follows: Herman Melville said, “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men”. I have never believed those words more than I do at this stage of my life. I was fortunate to be raised in a household that instilled a strong commitment to giving and to serving with humility. Although my family lived in plenty, we were raised with the knowledge that selfishness divides people and creates enmity between those who live in abundance and those who are poor.... I, therefore, welcome opportunities to be giving.
I also believe we are all siblings with the same Father, and so I truly believe we are all connected. I also believe it is our duty, and our pleasure, to not only serve others but to love others. I believe loving others means to sacrifice for and seek only the highest good for another, even if nothing can be or will be given back; and that is my heart’s goal. It is with that attitude of heart that I desire to serve on the Board of Directors for PACH. Janet has jumped into the role of Publicity Co-ordinator for PACH, a role the Board has been trying to fill for months. Our current flyers advertising the Post Office Stamp Out Hunger Drive and the upcoming Wine Tasting Fundraiser are products of her first efforts on PACH's behalf. Welcome to PACH, Janet, and Thank You for answering the call to serve!
On the two Saturdays prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Peter Fitzpatrick School cafeteria was alive with holiday spirit during PACH Outreach's annual holiday dinner distribution. More than two dozen volunteers from PACH, North Middlesex High School's Service Learning Groups, and the youth group from Our Lady of Grace Church had assembled dinner boxes laden with turkeys or turkey breasts and all the sides and trimmings needed for complete holiday dinners. Santa Al Buckley greeted dinner recipients, while coordinators Clara Couture and Lisa Ferolito oversaw their volunteer crew distribute the dinners to 140 families at Thanksgiving and 113 families encompassing 271 individuals at Christmas.
Dinners included scores of turkeys donated by residents, local businesses, and the Greater Boston Food Bank; numerous dry goods donated via fall food drives or purchased with funds donated by numerous individuals and businesses for that purpose; plus hundreds of pounds of apples, squashes, and other fruits and vegetables donated by Kimball Fruit Farm; over 200 5-lb. bags of potatoes donated by PACH's anonyous "Potato Man;" and dozens of fruit pies purchased with a substantial donation from Wilson Brothers' HVAC. (See related story below.) PACH could not meet so many residents' holiday meal needs without the cooperation of Superintendent of Schools Joan Landers and the Peter Fitzpatrick School custodial staff, as well as the very generous support of the Pepperell Community and all the individuals who donate goods and volunteer their time to make this happen. WE THANK YOU HEARTILY! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
With third grade teacher Jennifer Fournier coordinating, students at Varnum Brook Elementary School collected hundreds of food and dry good items from their families and school staff for their annual Food Drive in November. Fifty-five large boxes of food and dry goods were received from Varnum Brook the week prior to Thanksgiving, many of which were added to the Thanksgiving dinner baskets prepared on Saturday, November 22. This annual drive, along with one usually held by Nissitissit Middle School at Christmas or after the new year, consistently provides much of the stock on PACH's shelves during the cold winter months.
Staff and employees of Masy Systems of Lomar Park, Pepperell, gathered with their families for their annual holiday party on Saturday, December 6, many toting groceries. The company collected donations for PACH at the party and for two weeks before, delivering 170 pounds of food to the pantry on Monday the 8th. Owners Laurie & John Masiello rounded out the annual company donation with a $1000 check to support purchases for the pantry and for PACH's annual holiday baskets. Shown at left: Masy's Samantha Hardy and Elena Cowan rolling some of the donations out for delivery.
A week and a half before, Rise and Shine Fitness held its annual pre-Thanksgiving "Sweatfest" class, charging a reduced fee to participants who brought a food donation for the PACH pantry. Studio staff & clients were encouraged to bring donations for PACH to the studio anytime from mid-November through December 2nd. Rise and Shine delivered three large boxes of food to the pantry the first week in December, along with a check respresenting cash donations and a share of the proceeds from the Sweatfest.
Meanwhile, Paugus Rod & Gun Club gave PACH a generous monetary donation toward foodstuffs for PACH Outreach's annual holiday baskets, Wilson Brothers HVAC supplied money to purchase 140 fresh fruit pies for the Thanksgiving baskets, and Kimball Farm donated hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables for the Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.
On Saturday, September 27, the front driveway of Pepperell's Peter Fitzpatrick School, just past the traffic rotary, was the scene of consderable but friendly traffic. Many residents piled their donations of canned and dry groceries, personal care items, and household paper products into their back seats and trunks and drove to PACH, where our volunteer crew met them at the circular drive in front of the building to unload their cars and carry the donations into the pantry. Easy in, easy out for donating drivers and a boon to PACH! Over 50 bags of groceries were collected for the pantry. Thank-you to the many residents and supporters who came to PACH with donations, as well as the volunteers who collected, sorted, and stocked them in the pantry.
Among several organizations that regularly help PACH Outreach keep the pantry shelves stocked, the Stars & Stripes Equestrian 4-H Club and the Pepperell Christian Fellowship are commended for their mid-summer food drives. For five consecutive Sundays in July and August, the 9-to-14-year-old members of Stars & Stripes 4-H held a food drive at Donelan's of Pepperell, collecting 213 pounds of food for PACH. The children come from Pepperell and many surrounding communities, and they held their first food drive for PACH last fall, as a community service project. "The kids had such a wonderful time they decided to do it again this summer," said club leader Tammy Pelrine.
This was followed later in August by the delivery of five shopping carts to PACH filled with 550 food items collected by the Pepperell Christian Fellowship's Vacation Bible School students. Pastor Stephen Witmer said the students found it "a huge joy to wheel those carts down Main Street and present them to PACH volunteers." With three tables set up at the town's 4th of July celebration, church members also sold beaded jewelry handcrafted by African grandmothers, benefitting both PACH and women and children of Africa. The church raised $500 for PACH from that fundraiser.
The 4th of July festivities were also joined again this year by PACH volunteers and several members of North Middlesex High School's Service Learning Groups, who drove shopping carts along the parade route in Pepperell's annual Independence Day parade. As in previous years, these volunteers collected donations for the pantry from dozens of residents and parade-watchers who had brought non-perishable food items to add to the carts. A HUGE THANK YOU goes to Stars & Stripes Equestrians and the Christian Fellowship congregation for their very successful and helpful endeavors, as well as to the NMRHS Service Groups, PACH parade volunteers, and all who helped make PACH's annual 4th of July Food Drive a success!!
Anticipating the future loss of its space in the Peter Fitzpatrick School when the School District turns that building over to the town, PACH Outreach's Board of Directors established this fund to rent, renovate, or build its own pantry space. Attendees each purchased tickets, sold throughout the month of June at Baileys and at several locations in Pepperell, for $25 ($30 at the door). Attendees chatted with friends and fellow supporters while circulating to Dolce's bar throughout the evening to get a sample plate of each appetizer they wished to try, along with a glass of a wine chosen to complement it. PACH extends hearty thanks to the owners and staff of the two restaurants for the excellent food and service, to Pepperell Beverage for the fine selection of wines, and to North Middlesex Savings Bank, Lawrence Library, the Pepperell Town Clerk's Office, and the restaurants and wine store for their promotion and sales of tickets.
May 10, 2014
The Pepperell Post Office invited all residents to participate in the National Association of Letter Carriers' annual Stamp Out Hunger campaign on Saturday, May 10th. As they delivered mail to the boxes along their routes, Pepperell carriers Eloise Adams, Joe Adams, Christen Bower, Pat Delisle, Alisha Denault, Rose McPhee, and Lisa Sherwood filled their trucks with bags of groceries left in, on, or near mail boxes by residents who participated in the annual program. PACH volunteers met the drivers at the Post Office to gather all collected groceries for delivery to the Food Pantry on Saturday afternoon, where more volunteers sorted and shelved the donations over the next few days.Over 200 bags of groceries were collected for our neighbors in need. MANY THANKS TO OUR DEDICATED CARRIERS and to all who participated in the drive.
Under the leadership of owners Michael and Richard Green and food drive coordinator Kelly Flanders, the employees of 1A Auto of Pepperell collected 525 food items to stock the PACH pantry during its three-week "1A Drives Away Hunger" campaign. Thanks to 1A for its ongoing dedication to our community and contributions to PACH Outreach.
Enthusiastic 4th-grade football fan Riley McManus organized a "Souper Bowl" Food Drive for PACH as part of the season's culminating football celebration in January. The 10-year-old student got approval from Varnum Brook Elementary School's principal to ask all fellow students and their families to donate canned goods at the school during the week of the Super Bowl. Riley is shown here with some of the 470 cans he collected from students in all grades. See the full story here. THANK YOU, RILEY!
PACH coordinators geared up throughout November to prepare over 110 Thanksgiving meal boxes with turkeys and all the trimmings for Pepperell families who needed help for the holidays. Preparation for a similar number of Christmas dinner boxes began immediately thereafter, with distribution of those meals taking place at the Peter Fitzpatrick School cafeteria on Saturday, December 21. Santa Al Buckley was present to hand out candy canes and insure a good time for all volunteers and clients during the December distribution.
Community Church's Paper Turkey Drive Board
Throughout the holiday season, the Pepperell Community came through in a VERY BIG WAY with help and funding for these meals! North Middlesex Savings Bank, Donelan's Market, the Community Church of Pepperell, the Lawrence Memorial United Methodist Church, Pepperell Christian Fellowship, and Our Lady of Grace Parish sold "paper turkeys" to raise funds to purchase the traditional main course as well as fresh and canned vegetables, side dishes, desserts, and treats to fill the meal boxes for both holidays. Just over $7000 was raiseded through this campaign, an amazing tribute to the generosity of town residents and church members for their neighbors.
Additionally, Wilson Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning gave PACH $500 to purchase 120 pies for the Thanksgiving dinners, while Cumberland Farms donated 110 loaves of bread (photo left); Kimball Fruit Farm donated 1,344 pounds of apples, carrots, onions, and squash for the Thanksgiving dinners and many hundreds more pounds of apples, onions, and carrots for Christmas dinners; the "Potato Man"--an anonymous donor who has supplied dozens of 5-lb. bags of potatoes each year--gave PACH a total of 166 bags of potatoes for the two holidays, and Pepperell resident Tony Beattie filled the remaining spud need with two donations each of 50 more 5-lb. bags. As in previous years, several town residents and organizations donated turkeys and hams, and Linda and Jim Friend gave us space in their barn freezers to store turkeys PACH received from the Greater Boston Food Bank. Pepperell's Girl Scouts created hot chocolate packets made to look like sleighs with candy cane runners and chocolate santas sitting atop to add to the Christmas dinner baskets; and the Lions Club and Pepperell Boy Scouts donated extra Christmas trees and wreaths from their programs for basket recipients who needed them.
In November, student volunteers from Our Lady of Grace's youth group sold paper turkeys after masses at their church (see below), and on the Friday and Saturday afternoons prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas, they joined North Middlesex High School's NOLA Service Group (4 members at right), plus a cadre of other PACH volunteers, all working under the direction of Holiday Meals Coordinator Lisa Ferolito and Pantry Coordinator Clara Couture to assemble and distribute the food baskets. Several members of the high school's Honor Society assisted PACH volunteer Julie Williams in delivering baskets to shut-in seniors and disabled clients who couldn't pick up their baskets.
PACH Outreach board members and coordinators offer profuse thanks to all those who made large donations of food items for the baskets, to those who coordinated and helped with the Paper Turkey Drive, to the groups and individuals who participated in the preparation and distribution of food baskets, as well as to all community members who purchased turkeys or donated money and food items to this hugely successful effort. (Shown below are PACH volunteers Bawn Clifton & Susan LaRocca checking in registrants for Thanksgiving dinners, Fran Bergeron & Caroline Ahdab checking them out, dinners awaiting pick-up on one of several tables in the PFS cafeteria, and Paul Richards & Linda Friend adding turkeys from their vehicles to the recipients' dinners as they left the building.)
While PACH coordinators focused on preparing holiday meals for families and individuals in November and December, several community organizations put out their best efforts to stock the pantry for regular weekly distributions during the holiday season and the coming winter, a time during which PACH traditionally sees a rise in calls for help with food and necessities. Annual food drives conducted by the students and staff of Varnum Brook Elementary and Nissitissit Middle Schools have become November and December traditions; they are consistently two of the largest drives contributing to PACH, adding thousands of pounds of canned and dry goods to the pantry shelves. Students and staff of VBES delivered 45 boxes of canned and dry goods to the pantry prior to Thanksgiving break, and Nissitisset Middle School conducted their annual drive during the first two weeks of December, delivering 68 cartons of food to the pantry on December 13(shown at right in the school's hallway with delivery volunteer Trevor Ferolito and at right in one of four trucks at the food pantry).
This year the proceeds of those two drives were supplemented by food collections taken up by Pepperell's 4-H Club members at Donelan's on October 13 (648 pounds of food!), by the Squannacook Quilt Guild at their November meeting, by Maple Dene & Moppet School and the Oak Meadow Montessori School in November, by Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church at their service on November 17, and by Bailey's on the Green at their Santa's Workshop in December. A HUGE THANKS goes from PACH to the coordinators, students, families, and church members in all of these groups, and to all community members who support these organizations' food drives. We couldn't serve the people we do without you!
17-year-old Boy Scout Max Barnaby of Littleton chose to help PACH Outreach with office and pantry upgrades for his Eagle Scout Project. With the help of his dad and younger brother Zac, he built a desk and refurbished a cabinet for the PACH office, he repaired some of PACH's existing shelving, and he developed an email list to publicize PACH needs and events to a wider community of supporters. Max culminated his Eagle Scout project by holding a food drive for PACH at Donelan's Market in Pepperell on December 14th. See the Pepperell Free Press article and photos about Max's project here. THANK YOU, MAX!
Tom Wilson of Wilson Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning of Lomar Park in Pepperell presented PACH Board Member Lisa Ferolito with a check for $2000 during the Thanksgiving Dinner Distribution held by PACH at Peter Fitzpatrick School on November 23. The substantial donation represented PACH Outreach's share of the proceeds from the Gary A. Garafola Memorial Golf Tournament sponsored by Wilson Brothers at the Red Tail Golf Club in Devens on Friday August 30 to raise funds for PACH and Loaves & Fishes (pantry serving Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton, and Shirley). The pies stacked behind Lisa and Tom in the donation check photo were purchased by Wilson Brothers for PACH's annual holiday dinners with an additional Thanksgiving donation of $500. PACH is grateful to the Wilson Brothers for their ongoing generous support, as well as to all participants in the golf tournament and community tournament donors.
On Wednesday September 19, Cumberland Farms of Pepperell launched a fundraiser with the goal of raising $1000 to support PACH Outreach. For each Chill Zone beverage and hot or iced coffee or tea customers purchased between September 18 and October 17 from the newly remodeled and expanded Cumberland Farms store on Main Street, the store pledged to donate 20¢ to PACH. By the end of the first week, the store had far exceeded expectations and raised $520 from the sale of 2,600 drinks. By the end of the four-week fundraising effort Cumberland Farms had raised a total of $2571.80, presenting a check for that amount to PACH later that month, in plenty of time to help PACH purchase the food needed for over 200 holiday meals baskets for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
In the photos above and left Cumberland Farms representatives Ken Camille and Tony Garafalo met with PACH coordinators and board members at the store on September 19th for the Fundraiser Kick-Off. PACH extends HUGE THANKS to the managers and employees of Cumberland Farms and to all who supported this phenomenal fundraiser!
For the past four years students from North Middlesex Regional High School have developed and maintained an expanding garden that supplies the PACH Outreach pantry with a wide assortment of fresh produce from the high school grounds from late spring through summer and autumn. This year the North Middlesex gardeners met their goal of donating over 1000 pounds of vegetables to PACH for clients... and they're still going strong! See the full story of this amazing project here.
July 6, 2013
Saturday July 6th marked PACH Outreach's second year of participation in Pepperell's annual 4th of July Parade. PACH volunteers pushed Donelan's grocery carts along the parade route and walked among parade watchers with containers to collect cash donations for the PACH pantry. Donated groceries and personal care items helped stock the pantry for the summer. PACH thanks Pepperell's 4th of July Parade organizers and viewers for their generous support of PACH Outreach. Thanks also to Donna & Gil Morel for the use of their truck as a PACH float and to all volunteers who marched with PACH in the parade.
Approximately 252 bags of food, personal care items, and paper goods were collected for PACH during the Post Office's annual Stamp Out Hunger Drive on Saturday May 11. MANY THANKS from PACH Outreach go to the Pepperell Rural Letter Carriers for collecting donations from our neighbors on their routes; to Postmaster Jacqueline Verheyen and the Pepperell Post Office Staff for organizing this event and helping PACH load and deliver food from the Post Office to the pantry; and to the many PACH volunteers who transported, unloaded, and sorted and shelved the donations. Thanks also to the generous people of Pepperell who contributed food and other items through this drive.
Thanks also to Scoutmaster Shawn Marr and the Scouts of Cub Scout Pack 55 and their families for their extremely successful "2000 Pounds of Food" Drive for PACH. The scouts set a goal in spring to collect 2000 pounds of food for the pantry. After several weeks of collecting canned and boxed goods from their families and the community, they met their goal and delivered hundreds of items to the Food Pantry in June!
PACH also thanks the NMRHS Honor Society for their collection of items for PACH at the High School Band Concert on May 16, to the fine musicians who entertained attendees, and to all members of the community who brought donations for PACH to the concert.
Sixteen local businesses served as collection points betweeen February 17th and 23rd, giving their employees, and Pepperell residents and shoppers town-wide opportunities to donate food and personal care items to help stock the PACH Outreach pantry for the remainder of winter. PACH extends A BIG THANKS to the following businesses and local institutions for participating in this first town-wide winter drive: Arch Fitness, Bailey's Bar & Grille, Century 21 of Pepperell, Donelan's Market, Family Tree Child Care Center, Fresh Start Cleaning, House Calls Home Care, Janet Cramb & Company Real Estate, Lawrence Library, North Middlesex Savings Bank, Our Lady of Grace Church, Rise & Shine Fitness, Rivers Edge Farm, TenBroeck Insurance Group, Tick's Boutique, and Wilson Brothers HVAC, Inc.
Thanks also to all individuals and families who supported these businesses and donated items. With a continually growing number of clients needing help during this difficult economy, we hope such town-wide drives will see increasing community support in the future.
Scores of town residents purchased "paper turkeys" for $10 each in November to benefit PACH's annual Holiday Dinner Distribution; these translated to $4286 worth of credits at Donelan's Market for PACH to purchase turkeys, turkey breasts, and all the fixings needed to assemble Thanksgiving dinners for 112 Pepperell families and Christmas dinners for over 100. These funds were augmented by a generous monetary donation from Wilson Brother's Heating & AC, given to PACH in memory of Gary Garafola, deceased husband of their employee Lynne Garafola. Families who received help ranged from single seniors to low-income families or those with unemployed or seriously ill breadwinners. Dinner baskets were rounded out with fresh fruits and vegetables, pies, and other desserts, as well as holiday wreaths and hand-knit scarves, hats, and mittens donated by numerous individuals, farmers, and groups in our community.
Under the direction of Holiday Meal Coordinator Bridget Morris, a cadre of volunteers from PACH and several local church and service groups assembled and distributed the holiday dinners. Turkey breasts or whole turkeys plus dinner fixings were distributed over the weekends prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Prepared dinners made by the cooks in Donelan's Bakery and Deli were also delivered to several shut-in seniors for the holidays.
PACH is grateful to Donelan's for their generous yearly support of this program, as well as to Kimball Farm, the "Potato Man," and all residents who purchased paper turkeys or donated items for our baskets. Hearty thanks also go to the staff and students of Varnum Brook Elementary School, Nissitissit Middle School, and Our Lady of Grace Church for conducting holiday food drives to fill our shelves for the holidays and to help us fill our baskets. Several hundred bags and cartons of canned and boxed food items were collected by the schools. Thanks also to all volunteers who took time out of their busy holiday activities to transport food from the schools to PACH, to sort and shelve food items, and to assemble and distribute the dinners.
Under the leadership of PACH Bell Ringing coordinator Maria Kelleher, numerous Pepperell volunteers braved the cold weather to man the kettle and ring the bell at Donelan's Market between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas to collect donations for the Salvation Army. Salvation Army conducts this popular local fundraising campaign each year, and the share a portion of the proceeds with PACH when we coordinate and supply volunteers for this effort in Pepperell. Thanks to the many volunteers who agreed to help this year and to the very generous Donelan's shoppers who supported the Salvation Army and PACH by donating. If you would be interested in serving as a Bell Ringer next year, please call or email PACH Outreach with your name and contact information with a message for us to add you to our volunteer list of bell ringers for the next holiday season.
In mid October, PACH Outreach was notified that it had been awarded a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Fund (GLCF) to expand its referral services. The grant will enable PACH to build a resource database to help individuals and families who are financially and food insecure.
In addition to the food pantry, PACH provides residents of Pepperell with information about federal, state, and local programs that offer support for rent, utilities, fuel, clothing, and additional food. These resources can be hard to find, contact information is often out of date, and the paperwork requirements are often confusing and time-consuming for those seeking help. This grant will fund new hardware, software, and database development, which will enable PACH to provide up-to-date information on programs, resources, and services. PACH will also establish an advocacy program to help clients with applications and follow-up.
An Advocacy Program Committee was established by the PACH Board of Directors in November and has already met twice to begin assembling the information they need for the database and to work on hardware and software implementation to get the database and program up and running.
Established in 1997, the GLCF focuses on improving the quality of life for the people in the communities it serves. The GLCF is the leading philanthropic organization in the Greater Lowell/Merrimack Valley area providing leadership, education, and financial support through their vast donor network to address a wide range of needs for regional charities, community groups, and students.
PACH Outreach is very grateful to the Pepperell Youth Soccer Association for another very successful Food Drive conducted for PACH during the Annual Fall Classic Soccer Tournament. Thirty-seven bags of groceries were collected and delivered to PACH over the Columbus Day weekend. Thank you to all teams, coaches, families, and supporters who donated food items at the fields and to all PACH and Soccer Association volunteers who delivered the donations to the pantry and cleaned and sorted them for our shelves.
August 14, 2012
Toddlers, children, and staff at Family Tree Daycare enthusiastically participated in a Food Drive and Trike-a-Thon to benefit the PACH Outreach Pantry on Tuesday, August 14th, at their center on 26 Hollis Street in Pepperell. Toddlers took to their tricycles in one session of riding around a marked track in the school's parking lot, followed by preschoolers on trikes and bicycles later in the morning. Both groups earned designated amounts of canned goods or money for PACH for each round they completed around the track, and many of the children pedaled furiously in dozens of go-rounds.
Elementary school attendees at the daycare center walked and ran with the younger children to keep them on track, avoid collisions, and give them encouragement. The older students had prepared for the fundraiser by creating a "pirate ship" in the lobby of the school in which to collect food donations, and they charted incoming donations by category and quantity. Dozens of bags of groceries, along with produce from parent and staff gardens, as well as cash, were delivered from the ship's cache to PACH Outreach at the end of their day!
July 7, 2012
PACH Outreach enthusiastically participated this year in the Town of Pepperell's annual 4th of July Parade on Saturday, July 7th. Donna and Gil Morel generously offered their truck for a small PACH float, which was decorated by PACH volunteers, who also pushed grocery carts along the parade route and passed out flyers to raise awareness of PACH's mission to supply groceries to those in need in Pepperell. Thank You to PACH Board Member Mary Feeley and Volunteer Coordinator Judy Duggan for organizing this event and to the PACH volunteers and members of the North Middlesex High School Service Learning Program who marched for PACH.
June 27, 2012
The PACH Board of Directors held a Volunteer Thank-You Reception from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27th, at the PACH office to thank all regular PACH volunteers for their time and untiring help. Appetizers and refreshments were served, and all volunteers who attended had the chance to chat with each other and to meet and talk with board members. The Board extends their thanks and appreciation to all volunteers who were not able to come to the reception.
Nissitisset Middle School held a huge food drive through the end of March and first two weeks in April to help stock the pantry for spring. This was followed in late April by a similar food drive at North Middlesex Regional High School to benefit both the Pepperell and Townsend pantries. Nissitisset Middle School delivered scores of boxes and bags of food to the pantry on Friday, April 13th, and a similar cache of groceries arrived at PACH from the high school three weeks later. Thanks to school nurse Linda Friend for once again coordinating the Middle School's drive, to students, teachers, and families in both schools for their participation and donations, and to the eighth graders who helped get the Middle School donations into the pantry.
The Wilson Brothers appeared at the PACH Office on October 13, 2011 to present PACH Outreach with a $1000 check representing the proceeds of a huge garage sale they held at their business site in Lomar Park on Saturday, October 1st. During their day-long sale, Wilson Brothers sold surplus equipment and supplies from their warehouse, as well as furniture and household goods, electronics, fitness equipment, small appliances, toys & games, and many other items donated by their employees and their families, all to benefit the PACH pantry. In addition to the money raised, Wilson Brothers also collected dozens of canned and boxed groceries to help stock the PACH pantry. HUGE THANKS go out to the Wilson Brothers for their ongoing support of PACH Outreach.
Many representatives from Pepperell businesses came together with PACH Outreach volunteers at PACH's Information Night at the Pepperell Senior Center on Monday, April 4th, to learn about ways they can become partners with PACH. Among the speakers who talked about PACH Outreach's history and services in town were the Board of Director's Chairperson, Ellen Castellano, Board Director Mary Feeley, and Jean from Our Lady of Grace Church, which has partnered with PACH from the beginning. Information tables set up around the room included general information about PACH Outreach, descriptions of volunteer and coordinator positions available in PACH, volunteer sign-up sheets, and brochures and information from businesses represented at this event. Several PACH volunteers and board members were present to answer questions and talk with business representatives. The event attracted a number of new volunteers who will begin helping PACH in the coming months. Thanks to the Senior Center for hosting this event and to PACH volunteers Katie Kazanjian, Janis Horn, and Jennifer Johnston for their efforts organizing it.
Attendees at the Merry Rockmas Benefit held in early December to raise funds for the PACH Outreach pantry were treated to great music from three local bands. Members of two of the bands, Mumblefish and The Instructorz, later presented a donation check to PACH Outreach board members. Included in the photo are:
Front row, left to right: Tom Powers of Mumblefish; Becky Torpey, PACH volunteer; Ellen Castellano, Chair, PACH Board of Directors; Steve Foley of Mumblefish; and John Paolilli of The Instructorz
Back row, left to right: Alan St. Croix of The Instructorz and owner of Pepperell Music Center; Aaron Gagnon of The Instructorz; Danny Clark of Mumblefish; and Darrell Lambert of The Instructorz