The staff and clients of Black River Good Neighbors would like to thank all of those who donated goods, money or time to help this year’s holiday food distribution. The process begins early in the year, but gears up in earnest with the annual Stuff-a-Bus in Ludlow, followed by the Okemo Cares and Shares food drive. Thanks go to all who worked at the Stuff-a-Bus, especially the town of Ludlow for providing the school bus and the Black River High School Interact Club who helped stuff it. BRGNS also thanks all those who worked at the Okemo food drive, especially the Mountain Ambassadors and Okemo employees. And thanks to all those who donated food or money at either event.
On Dec. 17 some 30 volunteers gathered at Fletcher Farm to pack boxes with the ingredients for an all-inclusive holiday dinner, complete with turkey or chicken, stuffing, vegetables, bread, milk and more than a dozen other food items. The boxes were destined for the tables of those families who might not otherwise enjoy a holiday meal. In addition, and in the spirit of the season, toys and presents were packed for families with young children.
Then, on Dec. 22, over 70 volunteers descended on the distribution center and fanned out across the area, carrying boxes and bags to 112 households. Thanks go to Lee Potter and Jane Pixley who coordinated distribution of the goods. In all we delivered 243 boxes of food and over 75 bags of toys to 262 people, of whom 69 were children under age 13. This project has been a centerpiece of the Black River Good Neighbor Services’ program for over 20 years. It has grown substantially, although the staff and volunteers wish it wasn’t needed. In addition to those who packed and delivered, many people gathered the food and toys during the previous months. This was an area-wide effort.
Thanks go also to Okemo for donating turkeys, to Black River Produce for giving fruit and potatoes, to Lavalley’s for donating supplies, to Shaw’s Market for their help, and to numerous individuals who gave cash, which was used to buy perishable and non-perishable food items.
Ludlow Rotary, Heritage Credit Union, United Church of Ludlow, Annunciation Church, Ludlow Garden Club, Friends of the Library, St James Methodist Church, Ludlow Women’s Club, Tyson Ladies’ Aid, Ludlow Town Employees, Berkshire Bank, CMT Media, and Ludlow Elementary School donated toys and deserve deepest thanks. A special thanks is due to Okemo and above all to Claire Walker for her superb coordination amongst all of these organizations.
Lastly, the Fletcher Farm School gets special thanks for donating space for all of this to happen. This is truly a community effort, and the BRGNS’ officers, staff and clients deeply thank all of the many individual volunteers and donors who make this program possible each year.
Peter J. LaBelle, Board president and Audrey Bridge, executive director