Fundraiser generates $800 for local food pantries

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BENNINGTON — A portion of the Bank of Bennington parking lot on North Street was transformed into a curbside restaurant at midday on Saturday. The menu was simple, two hot dogs and your choice of an assortment of bottled beers or a can of soda for $5.

The NorShaft Lions Club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1332 worked together to organize the fundraiser, with all proceeds going directly toward four local food pantries. Further support came from the Bank of Bennington and Powers Market.

The two organizations raised approximately $800, or 1,200 pounds of food, for Bennington food shelves on Saturday.

A sunny spring afternoon brought many out of their homes and into the North Street parking lot for a good cause. Customers maintained social distance while ordering their food and drinks.

Mark Wilson of the NorShaft Lions Club explained how the event came to be.

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"This started when the VFW had to shut down. They had a bunch of beer, and they didn't know what to do with it," said Wilson.

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VFW Post 1332 spoke with the liquor inspector, who told the organization as long as they served food along with the beer, they would be able to do a curbside service. Within a couple of weeks, the event was organized.

Once Wilson realized there was a way to raise funds for the food pantry, the decision was easy.

"It was a no-brainer for us. We normally put a lot of effort and a lot of monies back into the community; this year, we're not going to be able to, because of our lack of fundraising," Wilson said.

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Saturday's fundraiser was very important, as the coronavirus has forced the NorShaft Lions Club to cancel many of its previously scheduled fundraisers.

"Our fundraisers have stopped. Our largest fundraisers we normally do during the spring time. We do a pancake breakfast, which was canceled. Our big one in the fall, Octoberfest, was canceled [Friday]," said Wilson. "If you can come up with some smaller ideas like this, this will work because of the curbside service spacing."

Kathleen Wilkinson heard about the event through Facebook. She sat on the tailgate of a pickup truck in the parking lot while enjoying her hot dogs and soda.

"It's a beautiful day, and we wanted to support the community," Wilkinson said.


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