EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A “Fill the Truck” event was held in East Longmeadow on Saturday where volunteers collected non-perishable food items for the Springfield Open Pantry.

“The need is great, there’s more food insecurity than ever right now,” said Dawn Rodgers of Springfield.

Demand at local food pantries is on the rise. This due, in part, to the expiration of pandemic-era SNAP benefits. At the start of March, these benefits were rolled back to pre-pandemic amounts which means households will receive only one monthly payment rather than maximum benefits.

About 630,00 households across the state have been impacted by the change. Landmark Realtors hosted a “Fill the Truck” collection drive to offer some assistance to a growing community in need.

“I’m a realtor now but I’m a retired school counselor, and I’m very aware how food insecurity effects particularly children. It’s important at this time, because of the reduction in SNAP benefits, that everyone has the opportunity to have a decent meal every day,” expressed Rodgers.

The goal is to completely fill the truck at the location with non-perishable food items.

“There’s a huge need, it’s close to Easter, and we want to be part of the community and make sure that everybody has a meal on Easter Sunday,” said Lucy Giguere, the Regional Manager of Landmark Realtors.

The Landmark Realtors volunteers came prepared for the day’s rainy conditions and were pleased with the turnout of those making donations.

Nicholas Ferrara, a Realtor for Landmark Realtors told 22News, “It’s cool to see the amount of activity even with the gloomy weather.”

Despite the rain volunteers collected donations for four hours. “Whatever it takes to fill the truck!,” said one volunteer.