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Food pantries see spike in families

CHIP-In Executive Director Darlene Emco Rollins manages to buy 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of food per month on less than $100. She just needs a little help getting it all inside. Amanda Collins. (click for larger version)
October 03, 2011
CHARLTON — As she walked into the back entrance of the Town Hall, Darlene Emco Rollins stopped to pick up a plastic trash bag filled with food left on the steps.

At a table inside, she sorted its contents — rice, boxed potatoes, and dented cans of vegetables.

"Some people might think this is bad," she said pointing to an almost-out-of-date expiration mark on a box of scalloped potatoes. "But it's not. Especially when you're hungry."

For nearly 20 years Rollins has been checking, sorting, and doling out such donated food at the CHIP-In Food Bank, where she spends at least 20 hours week working as the organization's volunteer executive director. When she first started there in 1992, the food bank served just 15 people in town. Today, CHIP-In has more than 180 families registered.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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