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North Adams Food Drive Aids Friendship Center Pantry
By John Durkan, iBerkshires Staff
01:15PM / Friday, December 07, 2012
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Above, Mayor Richard Alcombright assists Russell Beauchamp, left, and Matthew Neville in unloading a truck. Left, volunteers assess the donations inside the Friendship Center.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A citywide food drive resulted in the delivery of two truckloads of food on Friday morning to the Friendship Center on Eagle Street.

Mayor Richard Alcombright and Superintendent of Schools James E. Montepare stopped by to help with the unloading.

"It's a big help because we buy about 3,000 pounds a week," said Mark Lincourt, the center's pantry manager. "It's an ongoing endeavor."
 
Lincourt said the pantry receives an average of 500 to 1,000 pounds per week of canned foods, cereal, pasta and more in donations.
 
Matthew Neville, the director of facilities at the North Adams schools, said the two trucks — one of which he drove — picked up roughly $2,000 in groceries from various locations, including the schools, North Adams Public Library, the Mary Spitzer Center, and the Police and Fire departments.
 
Montepare said all the city's schools participated in the food drive.
 
"They really stepped up, it's becoming a tradition for them," Montepare said, while also thanking Ellen Sutherland, assistant to the superintendent, and Veronica Bosley of the city's tourism office for their work as well.
 
Alcombright said the community's effort was genuine and credited the volunteers at the Friendship Center for their year-round service.
 
"It's the people here at the Friendship Center that really sustains the effort," Alcombright said.
 
Alcombright said he hopes to "ramp it up" for next year's food drive. He said this drive was done in about four days. Next year, he wants to increase awareness and extend the length of the drive.
 
The Friendship Center opened in February 2011 and is run by the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative in cooperation with the Berkshire Community Action Council and the Western Massachusetts Food Bank.
 
The pantry is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and located at 43 Eagle St. Donations are accepted. For more information, check the initiative's Facebook page, call 413-664-0123 or stop in at the Friendship Center.
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