Sturbridge chapter has donated $21K over last several years

📸 Accepting the check, from left to right, are Food Pantry volunteers Connie Waack and Marie Jimenez, Roberta Watson, Pantry Co-Director, Klaus Hachfeld, President of Sturbridge Rotary Club and Glenys Hachfeld. Courtesy photo.

Many years ago, St. John Paul II Food Pantry founder, the Reverend Peter Joyce, reached out to the community for support to alleviate hunger in this community. The response was widespread and generous. The Sturbridge Rotary Club answered the call then and continues to support the efforts of the Food Pantry in today’s challenging times. In the last seven years alone, the Sturbridge Rotary Club has donated $21,000 to the Food Pantry.  That support enables the St. John Paul II Food Pantry to reach families, singles and senior citizens in Southbridge and Sturbridge. What began as a food voucher program nearly 30 years ago has progressed to a client choice Food Pantry serving 350 households monthly.

The Rotarian motto “Service Above Self” reflects the Clubs’ commitment to advance and support a community in times of need. To further their commitment to the local food insecure individuals, the Rotary Club formed the Rotary Community Corps, a volunteer-driven arm of Rotary that created the Community Food Collaborative (CFC).  The CFC grows organic vegetables each year and donates the entire crop produced to the Food Pantry.  Over 3,000 pounds of fresh organic vegetables were donated last year.  As the number of households reached has grown, the range of needs has also been revealed. In getting to know guests, leadership at the Food Pantry has expanded services to include the nutritional needs of children 0-4 years old, school-age children, young adults, Moms, singles and Senior Citizens.

“The Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) provides generous amounts and a great variety of non-perishable food, dairy and eggs, produce and frozen meats and other miscellaneous items” says Roberta Watson, Co-Director of the Food Pantry.  “In reaching out to all ages served, we have identified special food items not available at the WCFB. We purchase special items such as: baby food, formula, salt and sugar free products and personal care items for seniors and babies. It is only through the ongoing monetary support from donors like the Sturbridge Rotary Club that we are able to continue funding these special aspects of our pantry.”

“St. John Paul II Food Pantry located at 279 Hamilton St. in Southbridge expresses sincere gratitude to the Sturbridge Rotary Club for this generous and timely gift of $3,000.”  Watson continues, “It is only through a strong support system that we are able to advance in our efforts to create a stronger, healthier and hunger free community.”

The Sturbridge Rotary Club has been providing humanitarian service to the local and international community for over 48 years.  Club members develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues including hunger, as well as support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students and other professionals.

For more information, visit the Food Pantry Facebook page at  www.facebook.com/SaintJohnPaulIIFoodPantry/, Sturbridge Rotary’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sturbridgerotary/, and www.facebook.com/CFCGardens/.

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