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Food Share targets local hunger

Radiothon kicks off year of efforts

Beverly Larochelle and Patty Mahon, both of Southbridge, staffed the collection point at Big Bunny during the 2008 annual Radiothon. The effort on April 1 is a major source of food and funds for the program, which is augmented by supplies from the Worcester County Food Bank. File photo/ Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
March 28, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although the annual Food Share Radiothon falls on April 1, food is no joke.

It grows everywhere, but more than 1 billion people globally are undernourished. Even some in our area go to bed hungry far too often.

"I don't see it changing," said Food Share President Ray Fournier, noting that the unemployment rate's still about 10 percent and even higher in Southbridge.

In that economic atmosphere, his food pantry has been seeing continuous growth in need — 5,100 people used its service in 2008 and 5,433 last year. That growth needs to be met by funds, and the Radiothon (which runs all day on WESO) is the agency's single largest source of income.

"I hate setting goals, but if we don't get into the [$20,000 range], we'll be in dire straits," he said of the 31st annual event.

Last year's Radiothon netted a record $22,000-plus.

ent the staple foods the pantry obtains from the Worcester County Food Bank. WCFB supplies fruit, vegetables, bread and various common goods in large quantities for little money — last year, Food Share bought about 85,000 pounds for about $1,000. It obtained another 3,600 pounds for about $3,600 from a food coop, but spent about $26,000 in local supermarkets for the jams, soups, canned pasta and other such things not available from the other two sources.

"Without the Food Bank, pantries like ours wouldn't exist," Fournier said.

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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