It happens every year and this year North Adams Residents went above and beyond with this year's annual citywide food drive has collected a half-ton of packaged and canned foods and personal care items for the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry.

City workers aided by pantry volunteers and Mayor Thomas Bernard and Superintendent of School Barbara Malkas unloaded 1,150 pounds of goods on Monday morning.

All four schools, the Armory, greenhouse program, City Hall, the library, Spitzer Center and Police and Fire departments participated in the two-week "Restock the Shelves" drive.

The pantry was serving upwards of 140 people a week during the pandemic.

Around 60 to 70 people take advantage of the Eagle Street pantry weekly. It's open from 10 to 2 every Wednesday and makes deliveries on Thursday. About 70 to 75 percent of the fresh and nonperishable items come through the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the balance of donations from local supermarkets, businesses, and individuals.

Nearly two dozen volunteers work at the pantry, many of them have for years.

Mayor Bernard said,
There's a need throughout the year but it can be more difficult for food-insecure people during the holidays, and its been tougher for some over the past nearly two years of the pandemic.
"I'm grateful to everyone in the city and the school district and the members of the community who support this every year," he said. "We just know that throughout the year, but certainly at the holidays, not to be Dickensian about it, these are the times where that little extra bit of generosity really makes a difference."

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