In the photo up top, please meet Sara Cummings and Justin Costa, two of the people leading the ‘Belly Bus’ food collection drive on the Greenfield Common yesterday.
I had the honor of seeing them in action during the event, which collected over 4,000 pounds of food for four Franklin County anti-hunger programs: Franklin County Community Meals Program, the Franklin Area Survival Center, the Greenfield Salvation Army and Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance.
This is the 14th annual ‘Belly Bus’ food drive. It’s positioned at this time in the summer to help fill the gap for Franklin County families, between summer meal programs and the start of school—when eligible kids will have access to free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch.
When I arrived, I found about 30 staff and volunteers on the common, all working in concert. Some accepted and weighed the donations (photo below). Others sorted the donations into boxes like dry goods, cans, bottles, beverages, and toiletries.
And still others packed the donations on to pallets, to be distributed to the participating programs.
Cars, vans, and buses from participating groups pulled up on all sides of the common, packed with food. And more came in from individual and family donations.
The organizational cooperation, the outpouring of food and household items, and the team of volunteers helping to make sure the food reached the participating programs, was truly incredible to see.
And I’d bet that every single person working yesterday joins me believing that the Legislature can and should do better at addressing and mitigating the root causes of chronic hunger and food insecurity in the Commonwealth. Something I very much hope to help with should I have the privilege of serving in Boston.