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In The Bank

Posted on Thursday, October 4th, 2012

316 brown bags. That number itself shows how much food is distributed during each Brown Bag session at the Ralph Froio Senior Center in Pittsfield, MA each month. What the number doesn’t tell you is how fast paced and interactive the process is. When you arrive there is nothing more than a few tables set up in an “L” shape, 20-35 metal chairs on one side of the room, and a coffee pot with freshly brewed coffee.

But those few moments of calm end quickly when it’s announced that the truck from The Food Bank has arrived and volunteer’s spring into action. Box after box of food is whisked up the stairs, placed on its designated table, and prepared for distribution into bags.

Then like a well-oiled machine it begins. The bags are passed from one end of the assembly line to the other, packed with precision ensuring each bag gets exactly the same amount and variety of food. It is a blazingly fast-paced process and the bags are packed, loaded, and organized in just under a half hour.

The program has had a long time to work to this level of efficiency as it has been one of The Food Bank’s core programs since 1983 and is run almost exclusively by groups of elder volunteers. The program takes place in numerous locations all across the four counties of Western Massachusetts. Take a look here for the history of the program, and how to sign up.

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