Bring food donations to holiday parade

To the editor:

Although it is hard to believe, it is nearly time once again for the Beverly Holiday Parade (Sunday, Dec. 1) and the start of the holiday season. That means it is also time for the Middle School Fellowship from First Baptist Church in Beverly to walk the parade route with their now-famous giant mac and cheese box, collecting canned goods and food donations for Beverly Bootstraps Food Pantry. Our Middle School Fellowship group is open to and includes 5th to 8th graders from all over the community, from various faith traditions, with varied interests and unique and wonderful personalities, and year after year these dedicated young people commit to walking in the Beverly Holiday Parade to help support the very important work done by Beverly Bootstraps and to help collect food so that many friends and neighbors have food to put on their tables each night.

Of course, it is always important to support Beverly Bootstraps in their efforts to help those in our community to be well-fed, to stay warm in the cold winters, to buy affordable clothing or house goods, to learn English as a second language, or to get homework help and tutoring, but during the holiday season, when budgets are stretched even more thin that usual, it becomes increasingly important to do so. As people’s needs increase and as food costs and heating bills become harder and harder to pay, demand at Beverly Bootstraps rises. The shelves of the food pantry become harder to keep filled. That is where you come in. By bringing donations of nonperishable food items to the holiday parade and placing them in one of the shopping carts being pushed by the young people from First Baptist Church, you help Beverly Bootstraps to help others. You help them to keep the shelves of the food pantry full during what is, without question, the busiest season of the year for them. You help your friends and neighbors in our community to stay safe and healthy during this winter season.

There is no doubt that many different types of food donations are greatly appreciated, but some of the most important and useful items that you can donate are peanut butter, almond butter, soy nut butter, any type of pasta (including, of course, mac and cheese), canned tuna, oatmeal or cereals. All types of canned fruits and vegetables are also wonderful to receive. If you are trying to decide what to bring, know that staples that your family needs and enjoys are those of which other families are in need and would enjoy, as well.

Come out to the parade and look for our youth with their giant blue box and their shopping carts — wave them down and they will be happy and grateful to collect your donated food items. Each year, we have been so moved to see the incredible generosity of the people of Beverly, as we have collected incredible amounts of food during the parade. Our hope is that we can continue to do better, to collect even more food for the food pantry, to bring more help and hope to our friends and neighbors in times of need. So, please, come out and enjoy the parade, and bring some food to donate to this very important effort. First Baptist Church in Beverly and Beverly Bootstraps thank you very greatly, in advance, for doing so!

Rev. Julie Flowers

First Baptist Church in Beverly