By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Region – Not one but two 53-foot trucks full of food donations arrived at the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) on Route 9 in Shrewsbury April 9, as part of Ocean State Job Lot’s “Three Square Meals” charitable campaign.
The WCFB was one of 15 food banks throughout New England, New York and New Jersey that received a truckload of goods from OSJL, which raised a record $1.44 million over the holidays. Funds are raised annually between November and December through a combination of in-store customer donations at the register, contributions from the business community, and matching funds from OSJL’s Charitable Foundation. The company then leverages its wholesale buying power and retailing expertise to purchase food at a significant discount. It also donates the operational support, delivery and other expenses.
According to Westborough Store Manager Bill Thayer, this is the 12th year of the program and the third year OSJL has donated to the WCFB.
“Our customers really came through this year,” Thayer said. “We ask for a $1 donation, but a lot of people gave more than $1. They were very generous with their donations.”
Each truck carries about 30,000 pounds of food which will be distributed among the WCFB’s 138 partner agencies. Donations included non-perishable items such as cereal, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna fish, soup and rice, most donated by participating brand and food sponsors such as Bob’s Red Mill, Polar Beverages, Kellogg’s, Bank of America and ConAgra. Worcester-based Polar Beverages also donated the use of the second delivery truck to the food pantry.
WCFB Executive Director Jean G. McMurray said that although the food bank receives donations all year round, “what makes this significant is that we don’t often get a tractor trailer load.”
And, she added, the timing couldn’t be better since donations slow down during the spring.
“This comes at a wonderful time of year,” she said, “right after the holidays and before the summer. It is really good timing.”