Open Pantry welcoming donations after starting holiday week with bare shelves

The 29th annual Rock 102 Mayflower Marathon is rolling on with day two of their 52-hour event.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The 29th annual Rock 102 Mayflower Marathon is rolling on with day two of their 52-hour event and we are giving you an idea of the non-profit benefiting from the outpouring of support.

Volunteers and those from Rock 102 are continuing to fill up the trucks with non-perishables and collect monetary donations for this year’s Mayflower Marathon and, once again, the donations go to Open Pantry in Springfield’s Memorial Square neighborhood. It is the largest food pantry in western Massachusetts, helping at least 30,000 families a year.

“The pantry is where people are able to come in and subsidize their normal shopping habits. What we want to do is make sure that, whoever you are, if you are homeless…If you’re working, the food is here for you and for our community,” said Open Pantry Executive Director Terry Maxey.

This year’s marathon could not have come at a better time. Maxey told Western Mass News that the pantry’s shelves are barely filled going into the week mostly because of the pandemic and inflation.

“We’re seeing the uptick. We’re seeing people who are using the pantry that wouldn’t typically be pantry users. These are people that are working every day that need that additional help to provide for their family,” Maxey added.

That help has been seen from community members, both young and old, over the past couple of days. One bag after another, people have been stepping up to the plate and dropping off bags and bags of non-perishables, as well as other monetary donations. So far, the marathon has raised over $66,000 worth of donations, which puts a smile on Maxey’s face and making him feel even more hopeful.

“We have three tractor-trailer trucks and I’m hoping that once we get these three trucks filled that we have to bring in another truck for overfill,” Maxey explained.

Rock 102 actually has two other trucks on standby just in case. Recruits from the Western Massachusetts Regional Police Academy dropped stuff off Tuesday morning, while students from the innovation pathways program continued to assist. Maxey told us he is grateful for this wide-range community effort.

“I’m so excited and I thank this western Mass. community for coming out and seeing the need for food because the goal is that no one in western Mass. is hungry. We want to make sure that we provide sustainable foods to our community,” Maxey explained.

Maxey said Open Pantry is accepting donations 365 days a year.

As for the Mayflower Marathon, all of the donations will be collected and taken to Open Pantry after 10 a.m. Wednesday.