Before County Fare readers stuff themselves with turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie later this month, the Kiwanis Club of Lee wants them to help "Stuff the Trailer" this Saturday to benefit the Lee Food Pantry.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kiwanis want to fill the floor of a tractor-trailer with non-perishable food items, as well as diapers, to help the dozens of individuals and families who visit the food pantry in need of groceries and personal care supplies each week. The semi will be located in the municipal parking lot on Railroad Street, across from the Lee Post Office.
Generally, the demand for food increases around Thanksgiving because those in need are seeking to put food on the table while trying to pay the first bills of the heating season.
"This is our big push for the coming winter," pantry coordinator Sue Gore told County Fare. "We're starting to see a lot more younger families."
Open every Saturday for two hours in the Airoldi Building, located at 45 Railroad St., the Lee Food Pantry was formed in 1992 by several members of the former St. George's Episcopal Church on Franklin Street.
The nonprofit entity relies on individual donations of goods to keep the shelves stocked with canned, bottled and boxed food goods, personal care items and cleaning products.
Monetary donations will also be accepted at Saturday's "Stuff the Trailer" event, or checks can be mailed to Lee Food Pantry, P.O. Box 335, Lee, Mass. 01238.
'Save Second Base'
During October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lee residents Regan Tyer and Jeanne Abderhalden have been for the past several years rallying their friends to "save second base."
Tyer shared in writing their story with County Fare: "Living in our small, quaint town, we have a lot of great restaurants and bars to get together with girlfriends for a "girls' night." All moms, wives, girlfriends, etc. seem to enjoy the ever-popular girls' night out.
"While I've always enjoyed a delicious cosmopolitan with friends, sharing laughs, I wanted to do something a little different, mix it up, but be able to stay local. Somehow one night, talking with my best friend of 29 years, Jeanne Abderhalden, we came up with a scavenger hunt.
"So we devised a little list and got a small group of our good friends together and went out to dinner. I made a quick speech and we handed out a "hunting list" to 12 women and headed out on the town. We went to different establishments in the Lee and Lenox areas doing the conga line, having a cocktail, taking pictures of random requests from the hunting list and laughed all night long. The fun and the memories we had were priceless," she said.
"Deciding that it needed to happen again, two years later in 2011, Jeanne and I created the scavenger hunt event on Facebook and invited every woman we knew. In addition, that year we decided to add a small fee of $5 to play. Having it in October, it seemed fitting that we donated [the funds] to a breast cancer foundation. That year we donated $460 to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
"We also put together a small gift bag for the winning team. While the women were out making fun fools of themselves, Jeanne and I collected donations from local bar/restaurant patrons (who were all enjoying the silliness around them, some even participating). That year there were about 35 of us. Due to it being tricky to come up with new, fun, somewhat raunchy tasks we decided to do it biannually."
Fast forward to 2013, Tyer and Abderhalden again created a Facebook event for a scavenger hunt.
"We managed to have about 55 girls attend and started off at the Locker Room sports bar in Lee, as we did in the past. The bar was so generous, putting out platters and pizza on the house," Tyer said.
They raised $604, donating it to the Boston Hope Lodge, which provides temporary lodging for cancer patients and families during hospital visits. The donation was made in honor of Jeanne's aunt, Lee native Karin Abderhalden of Ashfield, who was battling breast and thyroid cancer at that time and has since recovered.
"This year we have had an amazing response with about 100 hunters, all donating the original $5 per person," Tyer said. "We exceeded our previous donation and made an astounding $1,000! We had a great turnout and the restaurant and bar patrons were so great this year. Everyone had a blast!"
This year's donation, she said, will be given to Moments House in Pittsfield, in honor of Linda Houghtaling, a friend of the Abderhaldens. Said Tyer: "We hope to continue doing this hunt biannually, changing it up each time to keep people's interest."