Published in the January 25, 2016 edition.

WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry is off to a good start in 2016 with two unexpected windfalls.

The first windfall came from a student at the Dolbeare Elementary School who turned nine years old on Jan. 8. He asked his friends to make donations to the Pantry instead of giving him games or toys at his birthday party.

Trevor Veilleux’s request netted four overflowing bags of groceries and a $70 cash donation to the Pantry, all of which was delivered on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The cash will be used to buy food for clients, and the food donations will be placed on the shelves for clients to select.

Asked how felt about the experience, Trevor said, “I decided to have my friends donate to the pantry because I got what I wanted for Christmas and didn’t want anything more for my birthday. I picked the Pantry because I wanted to do something for my community and because Wakefield is a great town.”

“Every kid looks forward to their birthday. The fact that Trevor chose to ask for donations to the food pantry — instead of birthday presents — just warms my heart,” said Maureen Miller, director of operations at the Pantry. “On behalf of our clients, our board and our volunteers, we are so grateful for his kind and thoughtful donation.”

In addition to Trevor’s donation, Beth Israel Senior Citizens Housing Inc. (BISCHI) in Malden donated $25,000 to the Pantry to help purchase a refrigerator and freezer to benefit those in need. With the new equipment, the pantry can store fresh produce and meats, allowing clients to cook healthier and heartier foods without relying solely on canned food items. The walk-in freezer allows the pantry to buy more food in bulk and purchase items for the holiday season.

BISCHI is a nonprofit agency and 501(c)(3) charity involved in various forms of community housing for the elderly and adults with disabilities. The organization also decided to focus on charitable efforts to meet the capital needs of area food pantries and soup kitchens in Eastern Massachusetts.

With the help of the Greater Boston Food Bank, BISCHI was able to identify the Wakefield Interfaith Food Panty as one of their chosen food pantries and, with their donation, improved the pantry and what it can offer.

Community members, groups, and businesses that are interested in organizing food drives can send an e-mail to For up-to-date listings of most-needed foods, please visit The Pantry also welcomes cash and check donations made out to the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry.