Now’s The Time To Give

Kara Shea
Issue Date: 
October, 2019
Article Body: 

In 1987, Ruth Griffin, a member of the United Church of Norwood gathered a group known as the “Food for Thought” committee to discuss the food needs of residents in the town. With these needs in mind, the group formed a pantry planning team called “Hands for Hunger”, and began their efforts to provide food for those less fortunate.
In December of 1988 the group found a space to operate in in the form of the Grace Episcopal Church; and local business Roche Brothers donated shelves for their storage.
A letter was then promptly sent to each house of worship in Norwood to participate in a program to feed the hungry in February 1989, thus marking the beginning of the Norwood Food Pantry.
With the support of ten churches, the synagogue, and friends of the Pantry volunteers, May 1st 1989 marked the first Saturday that the Pantry served clients. On this day, the Pantry began with 6 clients, and has since served 3000 individuals over the past 30 years notes Cindy Zaft the Norwood Food Pantry Director.
Now, in 2019, the Norwood Food Pantry consists of over 100 volunteers and continues to serve the community “thanks to donations by churches, synagogues, organizations, businesses, schools, local supermarkets, Lovin'Spoonfuls (a redistribution non-profit), the Greater Boston Food Bank, and individuals in the community” explains Zaft.
With the Thanksgiving Holiday fast approaching, the Norwood Food Pantry was pleasantly surprised with a donation from the Andrew and Earnest J. Boch Memorial Fund.
This is an endowment that the organization regularly applies to each year, but this is the first year they are to receive the $10,000 check.
According to Zaft, Ernie Boch explained that the check was granted due to the Pantry’s social media outreach.
At the time of publication, the pantry board has still not decided what to use the money for. However, Zaft explains that “when [they] met with Ernie Boch Jr, we did talk about the difficulty of providing fresh meat, fish, and chicken; dairy products; and fresh produce.”
Aside from the grant, the Pantry has also begun preparations for Thanksgiving in other ways.
In specific, the Personal Best Karate School is part of a national program called the Turkey Brigade.  Through their Personal Best Foundation, they raise funds, purchase, and deliver Thanksgiving baskets directly to our clients. 
“Last year, 90 households received deliveries through that program”
In addition, a Norwood family -- Mary Beth and John McDonough, and their neighbors, raise money, purchase, and deliver Thanksgiving baskets to the pantry as well.  These are distributed to families that did not apply for the Turkey Brigade.  The baskets contain nonperishable items that work well for some small households, and households where cooking a large meal is not feasible.
“While all the schools in the area run Thanksgiving food drives, St. Catherine of Sienna has a month long program supported by the school community.  Each grade focuses on a different item and the activity concludes at their Wednesday morning children's service, the day before Thanksgiving.”
Looking forward to the December holidays, the Pantry typically distributes gift cards so that clients can purchase items that they specifically need over the holiday.
Still located in the basement of Grace Episcopal Church, 150 Chapel St, this group reminds Norwood citizens that giving back to the community should be a year round activity.
*Information on how to donate or volunteer can be found at