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Editor’s note: WestfordCAT reached out to Amazon on multiple occasions to speak with management at our local Whole Foods. The company’s media team was unable to accommodate an interview for this piece.
WESTFORD — For seniors on a fixed income, a food bank can prove vital in keeping the budget balanced for the month.
The food bank, hosted by the Friends of the Cameron Senior Center, provides donated food from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to seniors seeking assistance on a first-come first-serve basis.
“We donate food that we have that is not salable,” Assistant Manager of Trader Joe’s in Acton Michelle Ouellette told WestfordCAT. “That’s food that is not fit for sale but is safe for consumption.”
She continued, “we want to give back to our community.”
According to organizers, the program is entirely self-sustaining, receiving weekly donations from both grocery chains that provide enough food for each of the program’s weekly attendees.
“It’s almost like grocery shopping,” Frances Kosenko, Assistant Treasurer of the Friends of the Cameron Senior Center told WestfordCAT. “They’re getting a good selection of food every week.”
Both chains donate a number of items, including frozen meals, vegetables and produce, breads, sandwiches and dairy products. On average, 50 to 70 seniors take advantage of the program during donation hours on Monday and Thursday.
“People have told me it helps their budget,” Kosenko said. “With the cost of everything now, it has really been a great help for them.”
She continued, “everybody has been very grateful. I have a great staff of people and they all do a great job.”
According to organizers, food that is left behind is donated to the Westford Food Pantry and Chelmsford Senior Center.
“We never throw anything away,” organizer Patti Mason told WestfordCAT. “We try to save it, but if we can’t we’ll send it to the Chelmsford Senior Center or food pantry.”
The program has received acclaim from Cameron Senior Center Director Jen Claro, who praised volunteers for their work and independence.
“This really is their program,” she said. We really let them do their own thing.”
Distribution for the program takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. Seniors looking to attend must sign up at the Cameron Senior Center the morning of distribution.
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