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Belmont Public Schools News

Chenery Students and Staff Deliver Food and a Record for Giving


Pantry donations stacked in cafeteriaThousands of food items lined the walls of the Chenery School during the annual food drive benefiting the Belmont Food Pantry.  The Chenery School Community Service Club took on a challenge that paid off big in school pride and food for the Belmont families who depend on donations.

Every year in December the Chenery Middle School along with LABB Education Collaborative hold a food drive for the pantry.  This year the drive was from December 9 through the 15.  The challenge was to beat last year’s donation total, and the challenge was more than met.  Chenery brought in over 7,000 food items, beating last year’s donation of 4,500.  Faculty Advisor to the club and History Teacher Adam Weldai estimates 90 percent of the food items donated to the pantry are canned goods, but toiletries are also in demand.  Chenery is one of the largest contributors to the food pantry, and Weldai is proud of the effort, “When we talk about caring, about the community at Chenery, we don’t just talk the talk; we try to walk the walk.”

Chenery students loading boxes into trucks for deliveryStudents and staff delivered the food via U-Haul truck on December 16, and Belmont Public School Custodians Gene O’Brien, James Angelo, and Timothy Daye helped load and deliver two more trucks full.  “This was a particularly overwhelming year,” says Weldai.  Weldai says the students, administration and staff all went above and beyond and helped pull in a record amount of items. Organizing it all are the 30 students in the community club, grades five through eight.  “All the students had different jobs before and after school, and some sacrificed part of their lunch time to help supervise the drive,” says Weldai.

The Belmont Food Pantry opened 22 years ago in 1992 and is located behind Belmont High School.  The pantry is completely supported by donations from Belmont families, businesses and non-profits.  The all-volunteer staff serves approximately 150 families per month, which increases every year with upward spikes during the holiday season.   Belmont Food Pantry Director Patty Mihelich says the impact of the drive has been instrumental in supporting the pantry over the years, “What I receive from the Chenery is at just the right time when people are in need,” says Mihelich.  “This drive helps us for the next three months.”  Last spring the Belmont High School Garden and Food Justice Club started a garden that provides fresh food to the pantry.

This is Weldai’s second year running the drive and third year helping.   Chenery has been doing the food drive for more than 20 years, and Weldai doesn’t see the community service effort stopping any time soon, “I think the students really get an understanding of what it means to be a part of an effort like the food drive and give to our community.”

Mihelich says the pantry always needs pasta, tuna fish cans, canned fruit, meals in a can, and toiletry items.  The pantry is open the first and third Saturday of the month, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Monetary donations can be sent to P.O. Box 291 in Belmont.  See more information on the Belmont Food Pantry website.  https://sites.google.com/site/thebelmontfoodpantry/location-hours


Chenery delivers!.JPG  Chenery students loading boxes into trucks for delivery.JPG  Chenery students sorting through donations.JPG  Chenery students sorting through canned goods.JPG  Pantry donations stacked in cafeteria.JPG 



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