Ensuring no neighbor goes hungry

With the help of the James O’Connell Insurance Agency, Billerica Community Pantry is doing groundbreaking things for their town. To vote for them, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. Reaching 500 votes means the $5k donation they’ve already earned doubles to $10k!

Living a life you can thrive in starts with food security. Yet there are still countless people in our own communities who struggle to meet this basic need. That struggle may be invisible to many, but Billerica Community Pantry in Massachusetts refuses to accept it.

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James O'Connell get the Billerica Community Pantry’s shelves fully stocked, ready to be distributed to Billerica neighbors.

The Community Pantry serves the people of Billerica who are in need, regardless of demographics. This nonprofit typically supports around 175 families a month, but since the pandemic began, that number has ballooned to 450. The James O’Connell Insurance Agency stepped in over two and a half years ago to assist the organization in their efforts and intends to step up their impact.

“Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way.”

-James O’Connell, Principal, James O’Connell Insurance Agency

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“Without her I would not be able to help out at the food pantry!” Being a small agency, O’Connell credits agency Office Manager, Leslie, as the force that keeps the office running while he volunteers.

When your neighbors are in need, it’s personal

James and Cathy O’Connell take their role in the Billerica community seriously and have channeled their commitment into the Community Pantry. Since they started volunteering in late 2018, the O’Connells have spent up to eight hours a month helping stock shelves and preparing the Pantry to distribute food and personal items.

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The O'Connells helped set up food at one the Billerica Food Pantry's distribution events. The couple has been volunteering about eight hours a month since 2018.

Finding opportunity in the hardest of times

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James O’Connell and Cathy O’Connell bagging up frozen goods and dairy products for distribution.

The James O’Connell Insurance Agency’s passion for this cause has been steadfast, even through the outbreak of COVID-19. Putting their own health on the line, the two continued to volunteer and even began to commit their own funds to the Community Pantry.

To James O’Connell, there was no question of how to approach continuing to support his neighbors amid the pandemic. “Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way,” said O’Connell. “While the future is unknown, we do know that when people join together to do good deeds, challenges can be overcome.”

Now, with the opportunity to secure a larger donation through the Make More Happen Awards, they have considered the deeper service the Community Pantry can offer. “Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies,” said Sandra Giroux, a board member of the Billerica Community Pantry. “These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

“Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies. These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

-Sandra Giroux, Board Member, Billerica Community Pantry

 

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The empty Community Pantry shelves after January 2021 distribution. Each month, the organization serves hundreds of families.

In a community of 45,000 people, Billerica Community Pantry has been taking on a huge responsibility relative to most nonprofits of its size. $10,000 could feed 600 four-person families for two months. This means that your vote could quite literally help this amazing organization feed over five percent of the entire Billerica community. All it takes it a comment or a share!

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Jim OConnell
27 days ago

great job. need to get 500 likes shares or comments,LETS GO!!!!!

Jessica Wrigley
27 days ago

You are an inspiration, and the community of Billerica is lucky to have your support! Great work to you, Leslie and the team at the pantry!

Jessica Wrigley
27 days ago

You are amazing!

Christina Casal
27 days ago

So amazing. Hope you win the additional funds for the organization.

Sandra
27 days ago

Thank you so much!
The Pantry can’t do what it does with out the generosity of others! Time, Talent and Treasure.

Tom
26 days ago

Thank you for everything you have done to help the Billerica Community Pantry

Brenda D Komarinski
26 days ago

Thank you for caring for our neighbors!!

Mark Komarinski
26 days ago

Thank you! It’s great to know that with the help of the Billerica Community Pantry we can help stabilize food insecurity in our town.

Jennifer Beal
26 days ago

It seems unreal – both the need and the many helping hands that meet the need. Thank you all for witnessing to the power unleashed when good things become active!

Sharon
26 days ago

Thank you for all you do for the guests of The Pantry

Herve Abrams
26 days ago

I have a recurring donation set up.

Kristen Sullivan
26 days ago

Thank you so much!

Kathleen
26 days ago

Many thanks for all you do to give back to the community of Billerica.

Susan Wilson
26 days ago

Thank you for helping our community!

Carla Rackley
26 days ago

Thank you for such a wonderful donation! We all need to contribute more n whatever way possible to help the less fortunate! THANK YOU!!

Carol Walsh
26 days ago

I am thankful that the Billerica Food Panty is always there for our community!

Leslie Whiteing
26 days ago

The Billerica Community Pantry is a wonderful organization both for the recipients of the food and the volunteers who help make it happen.

Tracy Mace
26 days ago

Thank you for all you do!

Kayley Mace
26 days ago

Thank you for your hard work!

Sydney
26 days ago

Thank you for your work!

Marcia Keating
26 days ago

Thank you for all you do for our food pantry.

jim
26 days ago

lets keep the voting going

Susan A
26 days ago

Such a blessing!! Good luck!!!

Donna Naples
26 days ago

Wonderful work!

Taryn Gillis
26 days ago

Thank you for volunteering your time and talents! The pantry couldn’t run without volunteers like you!

Kerri
26 days ago

My Dad is living on his VA pension ant the assistance from the Billerica Food Pantry is helping him stretch his food budget.

Janet Morris
26 days ago

Thank you for all you do!

Sharyn Davis
26 days ago

Thank you James and Cathy O’Connell and all the volunteers who work to make the Billerica Community Pantry a success.

Barbara Flaherty
26 days ago

Great job, Jim and Cathy! Thanks for all you do.

Ed Giroux
26 days ago

The Community Pantry is truly an asset to our community.

Kara Vasello
26 days ago

This is such a great cause! I have had the pleasure of volunteering during a food drive and it was amazing to see the community come together!

Barry
26 days ago

Throughout the pandemic the pantry has provided an opportunity to serve others and focus on needs outside of my own. Thanks it is making a difference for everyone, the giver and the receiver.

Pamela Aparo
26 days ago

I really appreciate the way the Billerica food pantry asks for targeted items each month for people who want to donate something but never know what is really needed. So good to see local business contributing money and so much time!

Angela Hiott
26 days ago

Thank you for all your hard work!

Nancy Franks
26 days ago

Thank you for supporting this important organization!

daniel Timothy ford
26 days ago

Thank you for doing this Atta Baby to James and team.

Kim Andreasen
26 days ago

We are thankful for our many volunteers like Jim and Kathy. As we appreciate all our volunteers time, energy and friendship! We couldn’t do this without you!!!

Lorelei
26 days ago

Thank you for your generosity! This will help so many families.

Cheryl Kelley
26 days ago

Thank you so much for all you do

White
26 days ago

Lets get this done Billerica!!

Sidney
26 days ago

So many wonderful volunteers have made such a big difference to those in need in the area. Big thank you to everyone!

Joan Pomerleau
26 days ago

doing a wonderful service to make sure no-one is hungry

Clare Fortune-Lad
26 days ago

Love this!!

Christine Napolitano
26 days ago

Proud to be part of a community that cares so much about their neighbors! This is amazing!

Mary Jones
26 days ago

Thank you for your support for those in need

Maureen Amedio
26 days ago

You guys are an inspiration❤️ Great job.

Nancy Lyons
26 days ago

Great job. Congratulations.

Shelley Rosenbaum Lipman
26 days ago

Thank you for helping the citizens of Billerica!

Kelly Verrill
26 days ago

Kelly

Mary Sheehan
26 days ago

Amazing job you guys do for this community

Make More Happen - How to Vote

  • The nonprofit has received a $5,000 donation on behalf of the agent and you can help them win $5,000 more by voting!
  • There are two ways to vote: click the blue social media icons and share the story to your feed, or leave a comment at the bottom of their story here.
  • That’s right: you can vote up to four times to help them win!