HATFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has been desperate for donations, with the need increasing and their ability to accept donations limited.
That’s why a local branch of a church, based clear across the country, decided they wanted to help.
A 53-foot flatbed truck docked at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts on Thursday, filled with over 20 tons of non-perishable food that will soon make its way into pantries around western Mass. in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
“It been a serious challenge ahead of us to get food out to more and more people who are struggling with unemployment,” said Food Bank Director Andrew Morehouse.
Morehouse said this is a donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, according to the Food Bank, it will serve roughly 33,000 meals in the community.
“With the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so many other community partners, we are now in a position to get a lot more healthy food out to a lot more people,” Morehouse added.
They told Western Mass News that what makes this donation unique is that it traveled 2,295 miles from Salt Lake City, just to make this donation to the Food Bank of Western Mass.
“The Church Welfare Society is based in Salt Lake City, UT where the church’s headquarters are, so our shipments originate from Salt Lake City and it’s put on the truck and driven here as part of our overall welfare efforts,” said Todd Burt, who serves as the president of the Springfield stake of the church.
Burt said when they heard they would have the opportunity to make this donation to a local organization, the decision to choose the Food Bank was easy.
“This is a great opportunity to help partner with the Food Bank, help the community in the area where our church is babe across central and western New England,” Burt added.
This isn’t the only donation that’s been made.
“In Massachusetts, there has been many deliveries such as today’s. Over 200,000 pounds worth of food has been delivered to Massachusetts food banks over the course of the last two months,” Burt noted.
They told Western Mass News that while the help comes from the church at large, each donation starts around the tables of individual members in western Mass. and around the world, through something called ‘fast offerings.’
“A ‘fast offering’ is when those family skip a couple of meals each month. They take the proceeds of those meals and they make a free-will offering to the church equivalent to what they would’ve spent,” Burt said.
While it’s a sacrifice, especially in times like these, it’s something that brings them joy.
“It’s a fantastic feeling. We feel closer to our community and friends and our neighbors and appreciate the opportunity to serve and help others,” Burt explained.