November is Hunger Awareness Month in Nashua River Valley

Hunger in the region will be spotlighted this November

By Jan Gottesman MANAGING EDITOR of the Worcester Telegram

Every November, families gather to show their thankfulness.

But every day, one in four children in this country go to bed hungry. Every day, families are struggling to put food on the table while paying for rent and heat. One in nine households in Massachusetts struggling with hunger, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

St. Vincent de Paul, WHEAT Community Connections and the Item Appeal have joined together to spotlight the need to eradicate hunger in the region. The groups have declared November as Hunger Awareness Month, and plan to use the month to highlight food drives, fundraising efforts and other activities in Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Lancaster and Sterling, as a way to find a way to help more people together.

Schools have been contacted so food drives and other student events can be included. In addition, the groups are sponsoring a poster contest for students in kindergarten through grade 3, encouraging people to help their neighbors; an essay contest for grades 4 through 7, 100 words about “Hunger in Our Communities”; and a video contest, for students in grade 8 and older, to educate people about hunger in the local communities (up to 10 minutes).

There are currently two events scheduled by the three groups. Proceeds from these events will be split by St. Vincent de Paul, WHEAT Connections and the Item Appeal, to help people throughout the region all year long.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, there will be a showing of “A Place at the Table” at the Strand Theatre. The movie highlights the problem of hunger in America. Admission is $5. The committee plans to recognize the winners of the poster, essay and video contests at this time. There will be a food drive, with donations split among area food pantries.

On Friday, Nov. 21, there will be a night at the Simpleman Saloon, in Clinton, featuring the Tony Soul Project. Tickets are $15 and will be on sale soon. Tickets entitle audience members to a selection of appetizers between 6 and 7:15 p.m., with music starting at 7:30 p.m. All ticket holders will be entered to win a door prize of a $100 gift certificate to Simpleman. There will be other raffles, including a 50/50 raffle, during the night. Music continues until 10 p.m.

According to Gary Hutner, Item publisher and Item Appeal board member, this effort is all about raising awareness.

“It’s exciting that these three charities are all working together to raise awareness of hunger locally,” Hutner said. “I think we have some great programs planned that will be fun, but will also make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

In addition to these events, the Berlin Food Panty is hosting a fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 14, which will be part of the monthlong calendar of events. Restaurants are invited to take part in Step up to the Plate, where a portion of a day’s proceeds will be donated to St. Vincent, WHEAT and the Appeal, to be distributed to those in need in the community.

Any business interested in sponsoring an event, making a donation for a raffle or serving as a food drive donation location can contact Donna Jarvis, at WHEAT Community Connections, (978) 365-6349, ext. 4942, or Donna.Jarvis@uwotc.org, or The Item Appeal at clintonitem@yahoo.com.


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