PITTSFIELD -- Local food pantries are looking to replenish their shelves this weekend through the generosity of area grocery shoppers.
The Healthy Pittsfield Partnership, a collaboration of the Pittsfield Health Department and Board of Health is sponsoring a Super-Food Drive Friday through Sunday at five area supermarkets and the Pittsfield Farmers Market.
Organizers are seeking healthy, nonperishable foods, pointing out nourishment is about providing nutritious, delicious food, as well as trying to stamp out hunger in the community Among the wholesome foods being sought: peanut butter, whole grains, brown rice, canned tuna, beans and lentils, canned fruits, according to city health officials.
"We need to educate people ... that you don't have to spend more money to eat healthy," said Dr. Cynthia Geyer, a member of the Board of Health.
As part of the food drive, Geyer said several locations will be offering food demos using recipes highlighting the requested ingredients.
"We are fortunate to have generous people, and organizations, in Pittsfield who already help those in need," Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi said in a statement. "This creative food drive brings forward the message of the importance of donating nutritious, quality food to those who face food insecurity."
Berkshire Community Action Council has been tapped to collect the donated food and bring it to BCAC headquarters on East Street for distribution next week, according to BCAC officials.
Shirley MacDonald, the agency's director of community programs, finds the food drive just as necessary in the summer as they are during the holiday season and the winter months.
"The need has increased so much, food pantries are used year round -- especially in the summertime when kids are home from school," she said.
MacDonald noted up to 18 food pantries and meal sites in Pittsfield and North County are expected to pick up the food drive donations on Tuesday, in addition to their regular allotment of food items.
Collection boxes and volunteers will be at the following supermarket locations from 1 to 5 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday:
n Price Chopper on Hubbard Avenue in Pittsfield and Routes 7/20 in Lenox.
n Stop & Shop on Merrill Road and Dan Fox Drive in Pittsfield.
n Big Y on West Street and Guido's Fresh Marketplace on Routes 7 and 20 in Pittsfield.
The Pittsfield Farmers Market will also have a collection box from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the First Street parking lot.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233