Canned goods and other non-perishable items stretched from one end of Buttonwood Park on Saturday as WBSM and Fun 107 held another “Cans Across The Park” event.

The collected items will be distributed to local families in need.

Victoria Grasela, the Communications & Development Associate with the United Way of Greater New Bedford, says that, despite some improvement in the economy, there are many who are still struggling.

“People are still out of work in the area…visiting these food pantries on a regular basis we’re getting calls every day about the need for more food, Thanksgiving meals, toys for kids for Christmas,” said Grasela, “people are struggling still and anything people can do to help is really greatly appreciated.”

Among those who contributed was Natalie Medeiros of Dartmouth, who made a donation in memory of her late parents.

“Unfortunately I lost my parents last December, 19 days apart, so we do anything we can for now to honor their memory, and this is the time of year we help other people out,”  said Medeiros.

The goods were collected by a slew of volunteers including a local Girl Scout troop and students from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and Our Sisters' School in New Bedford.

“We probably have in total between 15 and 20 students that are volunteering today from the National Honors Society, our Legal & Protective Services Program, and our Student Council so we’re really happy with the amount of students who have come out to help out,” said Sue Demers Scheduling/Reporting Coordinator at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

“We try to involves the girls in community activities such as this,” said Jan Hess, a volunteer at Our Sisters’ School, “they earn community service hours for this activity.”

Humans weren’t the only ones being helped out, as donations of pet food were also being accepted.

“A lot of people are alone when they get past a certain age and the only companion they have is their animal,” said Karen Main, a Coordinator at the Buttonwood Park Senior Center who also manages their “Pets Eat Too” program.

“Sometimes as low income they get to a point where it’s either feed themselves or feed their animals, and this is a way to help them feed their animals so they eat as well,” said Main.

Those who were unable to come by Saturday but would still like to make a donation can get more information by visiting the website of the United Way of Greater New Bedford.

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