PEPPERELL -- There are many reasons why Pepperell is a great community.
Perhaps the greatest is the way we support our neighbors in times of need.
As the only food pantry for the 11,000 residents of Pepperell, PACH serves more than 475 individuals each month. PACH (Pepperell Aid from Community to Home) relies heavily on food drives to replenish its shelves, and to make sure there is enough food for the increased demand during the summer months.
Making PACH part of its mission
This summer, the Pepperell Christian Fellowship made PACH Outreach part of its mission, delivering five shopping carts of food and almost $500 in monetary donations.
During the town's Fourth of July celebration, the church set up three tables at town field and sold one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry handcrafted in Africa by grandmothers caring for young children. The success of this fundraiser benefited both PACH and women and children in Africa.
In August, during the church's week-long Vacation Bible School, students and their families were asked to bring in food donations for PACH. The students responded with over 550 food items, filling five shopping carts.
"Our Vacation Bible School kids donated many overflowing shopping carts of groceries to PACH, and it was a huge joy to wheel those carts down Main Street and present them to the PACH volunteers," said Pastor Stephen Witmer.
200 pounds of food for PACH
For five consecutive Sundays in July and August, kids from the Stars and Stripes Equestrians 4H Club held a food drive at Donelan's in Pepperell collecting 213.5 pounds of food for PACH.
"We held our first food drive for PACH last fall as a community service project, and the kids had such a wonderful time, they decided to do it again this summer," said Tammy Pelrine, club leader.
Young people in the 4H Stars and Strides Equestrians club range in age from 9 to 14 years old and come from Pepperell and many of the surrounding communities including Dunstable, Lowell and Billerica.
"4H provides many opportunities for kids to get together, participate, learn and share their experiences and knowledge with others," said Pelrine. "Our goal is to have fun while learning. By helping PACH, the kids learned the importance of a food drive and the many people it helps."
PACH Outreach is a volunteer-led, community-based, nonprofit organization providing short-term assistance to Pepperell residents during difficult times. PACH provides residents with food as well as personal care items and referrals to additional resources that can help neighbors get back on their feet.
PACH is part of Pepperell's long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.
Pastor Stephen Witmer, Sue Vasapolli, and students from the Pepperell Christian Fellowship Vacation Bible School, shopping carts filled with donated food down Rte. 113 to PACH Outreach offices at Peter Fitzpatrick School.
Members of the 4H Stars and Strides Equestrians Club.