One anonymous woman's random act of kindness brought Mary Lavalley of North Adams to tears on Saturday.
Lavalley told The Eagle she was shopping for two families and herself around 3:30 p.m. at the North Adams Big Y Supermarket, when she found herself in a pinch at the checkout -- her PIN number for a debit card wouldn't go through.
Lavalley said a woman nearby had noticed the issue, tapped her on the shoulder, paid for everything, and gave Lavalley the Big Y silver discount coin that came with the purchase.
"It was about $200 worth of groceries," said Lavalley, "I kept looking around for ‘Candid Camera.'
"I had never seen that woman before in my life. She's like an angel from heaven. It made me cry," she said.
In return, after straightening things out with her own account, Lavalley said she bought groceries for two other families she knew of in need. Lavalley credited her mother's philosophy -- "feed the people if you can" -- and the mystery woman for the inspiration to pay the deed forward.
"In essence, this woman who helped me actually fed five people, and I'm thankful for that," Lavalley said.
Stuffed: The Lee Food Pantry is once again stuffed with canned vegetables, pasta and other nonperishable food items thanks to the Lee Kiwanis Club's "Stuff the Trailer" event on Saturday.
During a six-hour period, hundreds of people filled the floor of a 40-foot trailer parked in downtown Lee to replenish the bare shelves of the local food bank. The massive one-day food drive also garnered $4,000 in donations -- money volunteers will use to make sure their shelves remain full, according to Sue Gore, coordinator of Lee Food Pantry.
"This gives us such a boost," she tells County Fare. "I hope this food will last until the end of January."
While the food bank typically serves 60 to 70 adults and children each week, Gore noted the number as doubled heading into the holidays and heating season.
The Lee Food Pantry, open every Saturday from 10 to noon, is located in the town-owned Airoldi Building on Railroad Street.
Henry J. Wright Jr., a native of Adams who graduated in 1982 from Hoosac Valley High School and who now makes his home in Cave Creek, Ariz., competed in the 2012 Ironman Arizona Triathlon in Tempe this past Sunday. And he dedicated his training and competition in the event to the memory of his father, Henry J. Wright Sr., a lifelong resident of the Adams and North Adams area who passed away in September 2010.
Wright Jr. undoubtedly would have made his father proud: He finished 124 out of 340 in his division (males age 45-49) and 1,082nd overall. Considering there were 2,947 athletes, that's no small accomplishment. His overall time for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run was 12 hours, 42 minutes.
County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers. Visit the County Fare blog at www.berkshireeagleblogs.com/countyfare.