The annual Cheshire Food Drive will once again kick off this weekend — the 46th such event held in town.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3, food will be collected on the green in front of Cheshire’s First Congregational Church and outside of Stop and Shop on Highland Avenue by the Cheshire Food Drive, Inc. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“People can stop by, drop off food, or even help us out by volunteering,” said Marlena Soble, who, along with her husband John Nann, are longtime organizers of the event.
Soble hopes that this year’s Drive continues to raise awareness about the group’s food voucher program, which offers $40 or $60, based on family size, to people in need of groceries. Families or individual residents can apply for the vouchers through the Cheshire Social Service Department.
The vouchers cannot be used at Cheshire Food Pantry, which operates via a different system, but are redeemable at the Big Y Market or Stop & Shop, allowing recipients to choose what they would like from the shelves.
“People who use the vouchers can either apply for monthly vouchers based on their economic situation, or get an emergency, one-time voucher,” Soble explained. “The real draw of the single use emergency vouchers are for people who just need a little help making ends meet that month.”
The program gives out roughly 50 vouchers per month, and Soble’s goal is to further spread the word about the initiative in hopes that more Cheshire residents will utilize it whenever they find it necessary. “We don’t want the program to be a secret,” she added. “We really just want more people to know that it’s there.”
The vouchers can be used year round, and any monetary donations that come to the Food Drive go to towardsthe program, as well as to help to fill the Cheshire Food Pantry and food banks in the surrounding area.
“This is really all about neighbors helping neighbors,” expressed Soble. “It’s great to see the whole town come out and help each other during the Drive. Local businesses even help us out in whatever way they can — we use a truck from Bozzutos to transport everything”
Soble mentioned how popular the Food Drive has become with the public elementary, middle, and high school students, with schools like Chapman dedicating an entire day — Oct. 30 — to wearing red in honor of the Drive.
“The kids really get into it,” Soble said. “The schools are filling up an entire school bus with their donations.”
Soble is encouraging volunteers of all ages to come down this weekend to the green. Anyone who is interested in volunteering on the day of the Food Drive are asked to arrive on the day or contact email@example.com if there will be a group of four or more, in order to evenly disperse volunteers during the event.