Parishioners of the Catholic churches in Bethel, Randolph, Rochester conducted a food drive as part of the Diocese of Burlington’s St. Joseph the Provider Feed the Hungry Initiative. Nearly 20 boxes of food and other items were collected.

The food was distributed to the Randolph Area Food Shelf and the Bethel Area Food Shelf.

Items “that fly off the shelves” were listed in the bulletins for Our Lady of the Angels and Our Lady of the Valley parishes, said Elizabeth Stuart, the parishes’ secretary. These items included canned foods, frozen beef and chicken breasts, hot dogs, yogurt, fruit juice, laundry detergent, hand soap and toilet paper.

“My feeling is that we have an innate need to share what we have or we get selfish and insular.  We can give so we should give,” Stuart said.

Planning for the food drive began in February when the worship teams from each church came together to plan for Holy Week. The food collection was announced in the bulletin the weekend of the Feb. 27, and the food was collected from then until the weekend of the March 20, just after the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19.

“Because this was in conjunction with the Feast Day of St. Joseph, Father John Carroll celebrated Mass at both Our Lady of the Angels and St. Anthony’s that day and incorporated a blessing of the foods collected at Mass,” Stuart noted.

Our Lady of the Valley has had a “long tradition” of supporting the Bethel Area Food Shelf, she said; there is always a bin at the entrance to the church for contributions which generally are delivered every week. Both parishes contribute monetarily to their respective food shelves.