GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Over the last two days, radio personality Monte Belmonte has been raising money to help feed hungry families across our area.
A record amount of money was raised in 2020 with more than $600,000 going to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. This year, the goal is the same, to put food on the table for thousands of families.
The 12th annual Monte Belmonte’s March ended Tuesday in Franklin County, aiming to raise awareness of food insecurity and money to provide healthy meals to households in the Pioneer Valley. Dozens of people, including state leaders like Congressman Jim McGovern and Senator Ed Markey, walked from Springfield to Greenfield since Monday.
Belmonte raised more than $614,000 in 2020, a record amount. This year, the goal is $500,000, which would provide 5,500 meals a day for an entire year.
“I think people found themselves in all sorts of situations in the beginning of the pandemic last year and they showed up so generously that we were aiming to get $350,000 and we got over $600,000. We don’t know what to expect this year but we thought we’ll aim for $500,000. Given 12 years ago, when I started this, the goal was $5,000 so it’s already a success,” said Belmonte.
The pandemic has only increased food insecurity in the region. Over the last year, the food bank provided more than 11 million meals, which was down 12 percent from the previous year.