| Danielle Eaton
WEST SPRINGFIELD – A local automotive repair shop is asking the community to give back to a food pantry that serves both West Springfield and Agawam.
Mike Zabik, who owns Mike’s Auto Service and Repair, told Reminder Publishing he’s had a positive relationship with the Parish Cupboard in West Springfield. He has previously organized food drives and donated to the pantry.
Zabik said he had talked with Martha Tighe, who serves as the executive director of Parish Cupboard Emergency Food Program, and discovered the pantry was running low on food. “I talked to Martha and I know they’re still doing lunches to go, groceries to go,” he said. Zabik said in addition to continuing to help the community during difficult times, they would also not be receiving some significant-sized donations due to the cancellations of some events.
“I was just thinking about how we could help and keep the no contact thing going,” Zabik said. He said it was then he came up with the idea of borrowing the Parish’s van, parking it in front of his shop and soliciting donations that way. From there, he said, the idea evolved into the van being parked in front of a variety of businesses in both Agawam and West Springfield to encourage donations.
In addition to being parked in front of Zabik’s shop on 173 River St. in West Springfield, he said the van had also been scheduled to be parked in front of Curry Printing on 91 Union St. and the First Congregational Church on 108 Park St. Zabik said Curry Printing also made a sign about donations that is put up at each place the van is parked.
Zabik said once the van is parked in front of a business, the back doors are opened and people have the ability to walk up to it to drop off their donation in a contactless manner. He said they’re also facilitating contactless pickups of donations as well. “If someone wants to call, we’d go pickup their donation. Doorstep pick up, no contact,” he said. Zabik added that he’d even heard from people wanting to volunteer their time to pick up donations from people. Another way to donate for those interested, he said, would be to simply mail a check to the Parish Cupboard at 123 Main St. in West Springfield.
Some grocery items the pantry is in need of include pasta, boxed meals such as Hamburger Helper, cereal, canned fruit, canned meals such as ravioli and condiments, such as mustard and ketchup.
Zabik said the response has been positive and a large number of people have donated food. “I can’t believe how awesome it’s been,” he said. “The van, I had it here [at the shop] Monday, Tuesday, it was full. It helped a lot.”
Zabik said he was planning to continue collecting donations as long as the pandemic continued and was actively looking for businesses to have the van parked in front of their establishment. While they’ve had some West Springfield businesses host the van, Zabik said they were seeking Agawam businesses to have the van for a day as “the cupboard does serve Agawam as well.”
Those interested in organizing a donation pick up, volunteering or interested in having the van at their business should call Mike’s Auto Service and Repair at 737-7806. Those interested in finding out where the van will be parked to donate should visit the Parish Cupboard Emergency Food Drive event page on Facebook.