Westfield Food Pantry and The Batter’s Box Team Up for Thanksgiving Food Drive


David Roundy, Staff Writer

On the corner of 101 Meadow Street and White Street, there is a brick building with old windows. You’ve probably passed it many times without even thinking about it. While it may not look exciting or important, the people within its walls do some of the city’s most important work. This is the home of the Westfield Food Pantry, a grocery service organization that helps feed the hungry.

The Food Pantry’s main purpose is to supply the hungry with food on a weekly basis. The food handed out is given to them through public donations or bought. Every person who gets food has a list of foods they can collect, like meat, dairy, vegetables, etc. They also have an amount attached to them based on home many people live with them. So, a family of 5 is able to take more food than a 3, for example.

Organizations like the Westfield Food Pantry and the Westfield Soup Kitchen exist all over the country, so while hunger is still a big problem, there are good people working hard to bring an end to it.

People often mix up the two organizations. Although they both do similar work for the community and operate out of the same building, they are not the same. The Pantry serves as a grocery service for the hungry, while the Soup Kitchen provides meals for people to come sit down and eat.

Both organizations work with Westfield High School, as well. The Soup Kitchen partners with National Honor Society, and students help cook and serve the meals. The Food Pantry helps with food drives and the Community Closet*.

Perhaps the most well known activity the Food Pantry takes part in is their annual city-wide food drive, which happens in the Spring. All across Westfield, people leave food by their mailboxes for collection, and the mail trucks transport it all to the post office.

From there, Pantry volunteers transport it to 101 Meadow Street where more volunteers sort through it. All food must first be date checked to ensure it is still fresh, and then sorted again into various categories for storage, like canned fruit, tomato sauce, etc.

The whole sorting process can sometimes take over five hours, and it seems to be increasing. This, of course, is very good to see, because it means even more food is coming in to feed those who need it.

A great way to get involved with the Food Pantry is by starting a food drive through your business, church, or club.

Tim Kelleher, owner of The Batter’s Box, has a very good relationship with the Food Pantry. The past six years, he has held an annual food drive at The Batter’s Box, a baseball facility located at 170 Lockhouse Road. All donations go to the Pantry, and it’s been very successful. This year alone, the drive brought in 1200 pounds of food. Kelleher says that he does it because “It’s important that [children] understand the value of social issues” and he’s certainly doing a great job. His food drive has grown every year, and it’s because it’s so easy to get involved. For every item donated, a raffle ticket is awarded to the donor. At the end of the drive, tickets are drawn and Batter’s Box merchandise is given out. This incentivizes his customers to donate food, so because it’s so easy, more people donate.

Kelleher says he is considering holding a food drive more than once a year, seeing as it’s been so successful. The big thing for Kelleher is that “People want to help. We make it easy and fun.” As long as he continues doing that, his food drive is likely to grow even more, which the Food Pantry must be thrilled about.

With both The Batter’s Box and the Westfield Food Pantry doing such great work for our community, it shows how much residents in the city of Westfield cares for one another. As Kelleher said, it’s very important that the youth understand what it means to help each other so that our city can continue the trend of giving for another generation.