Johnny’s Bar and Grille, patrons to help food pantry

by Town Reminder

Local business to assist food pantry
Johnny’s Bar and Grille to donate portion of food sales

By Jason Cook
Turley Publications Correspondent

SOUTH HADLEY – The South Hadley Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food pantry – which opened just four months ago in January – is set to receive a portion of food sales from local restaurant Johnny’s Bar and Grille.
Twenty percent of food sales from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 from the pub, located in the Village Commons, will be donated to the food pantry, which is still building up its supply of non-perishable food and every day items for those in need.
The food pantry is open three times each week. Twice on Wednesday, its busiest day, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., and once on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Clients receive two days worth of food for every person in their family for a two-week period. A number of clients have storage issues with limited space or do not have a vehicle to transport more days of food.
Jessica Levy, a member of the fundraising and executive board, said the pantry now serves more than 82 families. Approximately three to five new families sign up at the food pantry each week.
“It’s going really well so far,” she said. “We are fulfilling a huge need.” She added that there has been great support from the community – from the high school, local groups, volunteers and now this charitable fundraiser.
Donations of actual food items are always wanted, however, donations of money can stretch much further, as the pantry can purchase food in bulk at 19 cents a pound at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. This donation of 20 percent of all food sales from Johnny’s Bar and Grille is tremendous.
Levy said those attending the event could also bring donations consisting of food or even non-food items. “Toothbrushes, toothpaste, trash bags, tissues – these are things we always need,” she said.
Chair of the fund raising committee for the food pantry, Tanya Kopec, called the effort “extremely generous,” adding that events like this often require ticket sales, where Johnny’s just “opened up the entire day.”
“It’s easy for us,” Kopec said of the event. “We just have to get the word out.” Levy said there has been a “great outpouring of support” which she hopes will continue on Tuesday and beyond.
Nick Yee, a manager at Johnny’s Bar and Grille, said they often support local causes. “It felt like a great opportunity,” he said of Johnny’s fundraiser. “[The pantry] opened recently and could use the help.”
Johnny’s Bar and Grille is in the Village Commons, on 23 College Street. The South Hadley Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry is located at 30 Carew Street at the United Methodist Church. For more information regarding client applications, how to volunteer or donate, call (413) 532-0500. The pantry now has a website which can be found at http://www.shfoodpantry.org.

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