NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — There was an opportunity to support local food pantries on Saturday morning and score tickets to a time-honored Western Massachusetts tradition.

From 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday in Northampton, individuals and organizations were called upon to deliver non-perishable food items in their vehicles in disposable bags or boxes by driving through the Three County Fair Office parking lot at 54 Fair Street.

This food drive is put on every year to assist the community during these ongoing times of need, and Director of the Three County Fair, Gerry Devine said the food is much needed, “There’s a tremendous need out there and we hear that everyday, about what the people need out there, and anything that we can do to help we’d like to.”

Thousands of non-perishable food donations, such as canned items like fruit, soup, tuna, vegetables, cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, and peanut butter, and toiletries were given to the volunteers at the fair. Every single item has to be checked before it is sent out to one of five local food pantries including: the Northampton Survival Center, the Easthampton Community Center, the Franklin County Community Meals Program, the Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry in Belchertown, and the Picknelly Adult & Family Education Center Cupboard.

“It just gets bigger and bigger every year. Last year we received enough meals for 1800 meals to be passed out and we’re having tremendous success this year and we’re hoping to have even more than that available,” expressed Devine.

If you donate, you won’t just leave with a clear conscience and a less hungry world. Each vehicle that donates will receive a pair of complimentary tickets to the Three County Fair which is taking place September 1-4. And as this food drive continues to grow every single year the people who are donating are giving back not just for the free tickets to the fair.

“Well I’ve been in positions where I’ve had food insecurities myself so if I can help out I will,” expressed Jane of Leeds.

“Because we come to the fair every year and by donating you get free tickets for the fair, it’s also to help people out, you know,” said Ludlow resident Dianne Walton.