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Volunteers needed by PACH for Christmas food packing

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PEPPERELL — Volunteers are needed for Dec. 19, at 7 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus (K of C) Hall on Jersey Street to pack food baskets for the Pepperell Aid Church to Home (PACH) Christmas distribution.

Second only to the Thanksgiving event in size, the Christmas distribution is expected to involve packing at least 50 baskets according to coordinator Joseph Guth. Between 65 and 70 are distributed at Thanksgiving.

Most of the food baskets are picked up the K of C building, but volunteers also deliver them to people who do not have transportation or who can’t carry the heavy boxes. Guth said there are normally eight deliveries, for example, to Babbitassit Village on Foster Street.

“The pantry is in pretty good shape after Thanksgiving,” he said. “We’re getting donations from the Peter Fitzpatrick School and possibly some of the others. Usually parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church and others also give.

PACH is non-denominational, but St. Joseph’s has become the home base, probably because it was started by the priest prior to Rev. William Butler, Guth said.

“I’ve been doing it for 13 years, but PACH is probably more than 20 years old,” he said.

“My wife, Tracy, and I take the lead on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s a year-round thing,” Guth said. “There are a lot of other folks who volunteer to do the day-to-day all year. We’re on the call list a little further down.”

PACH’s food pantry is still located in the basement of the K of C Hall, but a search is underway for a permanent home.

Foodstuffs in demand are things like pasta with sauce, peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish, cereal, canned vegetables and fruit.

“We’d also like to get some baby food, and if people have personal care products, they help,” Guth said.

He said the best way for someone making a donation is to call St. Joseph’s Rectory at (978) 433-5737 or (978) 433-0326. If it is a large load, arrangements can be made for pick-up.

“Pepperell is a giving community,” said Guth. “Two days after the (Babbitassit Village) fire I came back to town from a business trip. I asked if I could help, but I found everyone was in place. That’s the kind of response this town typically has.

“I had one guy call me up one year because he bought $5 or $10 of extra stuff when he went to the store,” he said. “He called me up and said he had a truck load of stuff. It was like, wow, OK. You never know what people are going to do out of the goodness of their hearts. It varies from year to year.

“It’s a way to give back to the community, and, donations year-round are always welcome,” Guth said.

To volunteer with the Christmas food packing, call Guth, or his wife, at (978) 433-5295.

PACH’s USDA food distribution is on the third Friday of the month from 2 to 3 p.m. Other food may be acquired by calling St. Joseph’s Church.