BRISTOL - The community showed up big time to a canned food drive led by the Keystone Club at the Bristol Boys & Girls Club Family Center Sunday.
The goal was to collect at least 75 cans of non-perishable foods for local families who are experiencing hard times. With an hour left to go in the day’s collection event, the group had already counted upwards of 700 donations.
As cars pulled up to the West Street facility, teens were dancing to music blasting out of a speaker at the edge of the property. People dropped off all varieties of soups, sauces, pastas, veggies, fruits and boxed meal kits, along with at least 20 turkeys.
“This is a great turnout that we weren’t expecting,” BBGC Program Director Nicole Stere pointed out.
Temperatures dropped suddenly late afternoon and the group headed back indoors to begin sorting donations. Boxes were marked with labels like ‘proteins’ and ‘fruits’ to make it easier for the folks receiving the goods.
On Monday, volunteers from Zion Lutheran Church are expected to stop by the Family Center to pick up the collection.
“It’s being distributed through their Meals for Neighbors program,” Stere explained. “We want thank everyone who donated. It shows these kids what’s needed in our community not just on holidays, but all year round.”
As advisor to the Keystone Club, Stere works closely with members, who are mainly students from Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern High Schools.
The club’s focus is community service and teen leadership, and members volunteer on behalf of different good causes together throughout the year.
“We give back to the elderly, work in soup kitchens, hold collection drives, a whole bunch of things,” said Enisia Ferrer, who goes to school at Bristol Eastern.
“We’re all really close like family,” Ferrer added. “We just want to make the community better.”
A function of the BB&GC, Keystone Club meets year round on Tuesday evenings to pursue activities related to academic success, career exploration and community service.
For Bristol Central student Peter Miller, it’s been an important part of growing up.
“I came to the club five or six years ago,” Miller remembered. “I was nervous at first, but they all welcomed me and now we’re all friends. This is a good place.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.