Ensuring no neighbor goes hungry

With the help of the James O’Connell Insurance Agency, Billerica Community Pantry is doing groundbreaking things for their town. To vote for them, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. Reaching 500 votes means the $5k donation they’ve already earned doubles to $10k!

Living a life you can thrive in starts with food security. Yet there are still countless people in our own communities who struggle to meet this basic need. That struggle may be invisible to many, but Billerica Community Pantry in Massachusetts refuses to accept it.

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James O’Connell get the Billerica Community Pantry’s shelves fully stocked, ready to be distributed to Billerica neighbors.

The Community Pantry serves the people of Billerica who are in need, regardless of demographics. This nonprofit typically supports around 175 families a month, but since the pandemic began, that number has ballooned to 450. The James O’Connell Insurance Agency stepped in over two and a half years ago to assist the organization in their efforts and intends to step up their impact.

“Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way.”

-James O’Connell, Principal, James O’Connell Insurance Agency

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“Without her I would not be able to help out at the food pantry!” Being a small agency, O’Connell credits agency Office Manager, Leslie, as the force that keeps the office running while he volunteers.

When your neighbors are in need, it’s personal

James and Cathy O’Connell take their role in the Billerica community seriously and have channeled their commitment into the Community Pantry. Since they started volunteering in late 2018, the O’Connells have spent up to eight hours a month helping stock shelves and preparing the Pantry to distribute food and personal items.

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The O’Connells helped set up food at one the Billerica Food Pantry’s distribution events. The couple has been volunteering about eight hours a month since 2018.

Finding opportunity in the hardest of times

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The James O’Connell Insurance Agency’s passion for this cause has been steadfast, even through the outbreak of COVID-19. Putting their own health on the line, the two continued to volunteer and even began to commit their own funds to the Community Pantry.

To James O’Connell, there was no question of how to approach continuing to support his neighbors amid the pandemic. “Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way,” said O’Connell. “While the future is unknown, we do know that when people join together to do good deeds, challenges can be overcome.”

Now, with the opportunity to secure a larger donation through the Make More Happen Awards, they have considered the deeper service the Community Pantry can offer. “Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies,” said Sandra Giroux, a board member of the Billerica Community Pantry. “These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

“Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies. These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

-Sandra Giroux, Board Member, Billerica Community Pantry

 

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In a community of 45,000 people, Billerica Community Pantry has been taking on a huge responsibility relative to most nonprofits of its size. $10,000 could feed 600 four-person families for two months. This means that your vote could quite literally help this amazing organization feed over five percent of the entire Billerica community. All it takes it a comment or a share!