LONGMEADOW — A pickleball fundraiser benefiting the Longmeadow Food Pantry will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Longmeadow Adult Center, 211 Maple Rd.

The entry fee is $10 per person, and the event will take place on three courts with four players each, for 60 minute slots. All ages are welcome and paddles are available to borrow.

This is the first time the Longmeadow Adult Center is conducting a fundraiser like this for the food pantry. The Longmeadow Food Pantry is a service that is a part of the Adult Center that they do on a weekly distribution basis for families in need here in Longmeadow and surrounding towns. The pantry will be collecting non-perishable donations such as hot and cold cereals, cookie mix, cereal bars, pasta, condiments, rice, beans, fruit cups/canned fruits, peanut/nut butter, jelly, soups, coffee, tea, pasta sauces, healthy snacks and canned tuna/chicken.

Food Pantry Coordinator Cecilia Gadelhak said, “Our number one goal is to make our Food Pantry more visible within the community. Our need for donations is never ending and our numbers keep growing, we want the community to know how much we appreciate their donations and support.”

The Longmeadow Adult Center did something similar a couple years back for the Alzheimer’s Association with a pickleball fundraiser called the Longest Day which was intended to raise money for Alzheimer’s awareness and replicated that formula for this fundraiser. They have a very active pickleball group that plays here at the Adult Center since opening their new building a couple years back.

They have been getting consistent activity for pickleball indoors and outdoors and thought that the fundraiser would be a great tie-in.

Director of Adult Services James Leyden for the Longmeadow Adult Center said, “The Food Pantry is always looking for extra food to help us in our distribution for families in need and we’re always open to non-perishable items as well as monetary donations that would be used to purchase for the pantry to get specific items that families need.”

He continued, “We hope to generate extra food for the pantry. We’ve gotten a great response from the community for donations and we work with some other organizations that provide us food for the course of the week, but any extra food items that we get to have give us a little bit of a cushion to help with our distribution that we do weekly.”

Food insecurity is prevalent in the Longmeadow community as the Adult Center provides direct food pantry services and resources to over 75 households weekly. They have a team of staff members, volunteers, and community partners who go above and beyond regarding hands-on assistance and generosity to their program. Serving their clientele’s needs is part of their overall mission at the Longmeadow Adult Center and they strive to keep their food pantry stocked with a variety of items while connecting additional outreach services when needed.

“We want attendees to leave the event knowing that if they — or anyone they know — ever experience food insecurity, we are here to help,” Gadelhak added. “The struggle with food insecurity is real and present in our community and we want to make sure we are visible and approachable to our community. Attendees can expect a low-key and fun event, an opportunity to play the sport they love while helping their fellow community members in need.”

Leyden said, “Right now, our early numbers for registration have been very positive. When it’s all said and done, the fundraiser will be a success and I think the expectation going forward is to do something like this hopefully annually.”

Register in-person at the Longmeadow Adult Center or call 413-565-4150 and press option 1. Monetary donations can be sent to Longmeadow Adult Center, 211 Maple Rd, Longmeadow, MA 01106, or in-person at the front desk. The Adult Center can also accept donations for the Longmeadow Food Pantry for purchases made online through Amazon and Instacart. The regular business hours of the Adult Center are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit longmeadowma.gov/149/Adult-Center.

Miasha Lee
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