Community Cupboard director excited to serve as Labor Day parade grand marshal

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Community Cupboard director excited to serve as Labor Day parade grand marshal
Barbara LaGrenade, director of the Marlborough Community Cupboard, will be the grand marshal for the city’s annual Labor Day parade. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – It’s a Tuesday afternoon at the Marlborough Community Cupboard in the Walker Building.

There were no clients scheduled to visit that day, but it was still very busy.

Director Barbara LaGrenade just brought in 50 backpacks filled with school supplies, a donation from the local Renewal by Anderson office.

After she stacked the donations at one end of the office, she and Nilsa Roman were at their desks, helping the less fortunate access food, clothing, school supplies and other essentials year-round.

On Monday, Sept. 4, LaGrenade will take on a new role – grand marshal for the city’s 71st annual Labor Day parade.

“It’s just beginning to sink in,” said the longtime director of the Marlborough Community Cupboard. “It’s such an honor – the parade? That’s like, wow.”

“We are proud to select Barbara LaGrenade as this year’s grand marshal. LaGrenade is committed to fighting food insecurity and offers various programs to help Marlborough residents in need. Her longstanding dedication to helping families is deeply appreciated,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant.

LaGrenade has been the director at the Community Cupboard – a service of the United Way of Tri-County – for more than 13 years.

The cupboard offers nonperishable items, dairy, meats, produce and breads, both for “in-person” shopping on “open market” Wednesdays and a drive-through option – something LaGrenade introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past year, the cupboard has served an average of 800 families per month – lower than the 950 families served during the pandemic, but still a lot of people seeking help.

LaGrenade said that high prices for food and fuel are the reasons behind the increase; groceries from the cupboard help these families pay for other expenses such as housing and utilities.

Thanks to the cupboard’s backpack program, which is part of the United Way’s Tools for Schools, these families also don’t have to pay for school supplies. The cupboard plans to distribute 400 backpacks to local families.

The cupboard also runs the feed a family program, which distributes a complete turkey dinner for the holidays; a senior mobile market, in which senior citizens may have their groceries delivered; the ready to read program, with literacy kits; and a clothing outlet with outfits for adults and children.

In addition, the cupboard helps clients file for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, fuel assistance and more.

LaGrenade credited the 85 volunteers who keep the cupboard running.

“If it weren’t for them, I couldn’t do it,” she said.

“I am very proud of her,” said Roman, who works for the city through the South Middlesex Opportunity Council. “She does so much for the community.”

LaGrenade said she’s looking forward to the parade.

“I hope it doesn’t rain, and it’s not 115 degrees,” she said.

Community Cupboard director excited to serve as Labor Day parade grand marshal
Barbara LaGrenade, director of the Marlborough Community Cupboard, takes a photo as Renewal by Anderson employees drop off 50 backpacks.(Photos/Maureen Sullivan)

About the parade

There will be an opening ceremony at 11:45 a.m. at Lincoln and Pleasant streets.

The parade will step off at noon at the intersection of Pleasant and Lincoln streets. It proceeds west onto Lincoln Street, south onto Broad Street and east onto West Main Street. The parade will continue down Granger Boulevard and briefly turns onto Main Street. The parade will turn south onto Maple Street, ending at the intersection of Bolton Street (Route 85) and Maple Street.

Due to ongoing construction, the parade will not go down Main Street.

The shuttle bus pickup will be in front of the American Legion Post 132 between Shawmut and Greendale avenues along Maple Street. Buses will run continuously from 10 to 11:45 a.m. There will be no shuttle from the end of the parade back to the start after the parade.
The First Church Youth Group will have a lemonade stand at Granger Boulevard, and the American Legion will serve up hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages in the parking lot at Maple and Shawmut.

For information on the parade, visit https://marlboroughlabordayparade.com/.

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