Photo: Everyone pitched in at Monday’s Belmont Serves.
Wearing gloves and carrying a clipboard, Mary Lewis was spending a beautiful Columbus Day morning getting dirty.
As one of two coordinators at the Burbank Elementary School, Lewis had a long list of projects that needed to be done during the sixth annual Belmont Serves day of community service.
“We’ve been clearing a lot of brush from the back of the hill, picking weeds and planting pretty bulbs for the spring,” she said, as three friends from the Chenery Middle School – Anthony Casale, Zach Moss and Harry Brennan – prepare to load branches and leaves into yard waste bags.
“We’ve done a lot, just this morning,” said Brennan.
For more than 300 parents, children, teens and other residents who started and ended the day at St. Joseph Parish Hall, the Columbus Day holiday was not of laying around until noon, but an effort to give back to the community where they live.
Sponsored by the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Serves “is about providing just a little help to people or a project that needs our attention,” said Rev. Joseph Zarro of Plymouth Congregational Church, this year’s BRC vice president.
The largest group event each year is retrieving grocery bags of food that residents left on their stoops the night before for pick-up on Monday. SUVs and cars toured specific neighborhoods around Belmont collecting the food stuffs and sundries, bringing them back to the Belmont Food Pantry located behind Belmont High School.
By early afternoon, 1,700 bags of food was delivered to the Pantry, restocking the empty shelves – there are no food drives in the summer – which will last through the holidays in December.
“This is a tremendous response from the Belmont community to support and help their neighbors. I know that the recipients of the pantry appreciate and are most grateful to the Belmont residents,” said Patty Mihelich, the pantry manager.
She said at least 50 volunteers helping both outside and inside the building, sorting and stocking, “and everyone had a great time.”
Special thanks go to the following businesses who supplied the paper bags: Iggys, Belmont Cambridge and Waltham Star, Whole Foods Cambridge, Arlington and Cambridge Trader Joes.