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Annual Rise-Up Initiative a Success

Representative Soter carries a tray of food while speaking to Bellingham residents.

On March 28th, State Representative Michael Soter (R-Bellingham) announced the conclusion of this year’s Rise-Up Initiative at the Bellingham Senior Center. The initiative aims to address food insecurity in the 8th Worcester District.
The Rise-Up Initiative was started by Representative Soter in 2020 as an immediate solution to pandemic-related food insecurity. Initially, meals were served to-go for local families and residents to pick up without contact. Since then, the annual initiative has grown to include an in-person option, allowing participants to dine-in to foster a sense of community around the sharing of meals. Since 2020, the Rise-Up Initiative has served over 7,000 meals to residents in the 8th Worcester District.
A major factor in the growth of this annual effort has been the Uxbridge Elderly Connection, a local nonprofit, taking over the initiative. 
The week kicked off at the Medway Village Food Pantry on Saturday the 23rd, with 300 meals being delivered for pickup by Medway families. PJ’s Bar and Grill, a local restaurant in Bellingham also contributed by delivering an additional 250 meals to the Uxbridge Senior Center.
Next on the schedule was an in-person dinner at the Blackstone Millville Regional High School on March 26th. The evening featured a performance from the BMR Jazz band and chorus, and student artwork displays. Local Blackstone restaurant Goodstuff Smokehouse prepared the meals.
On Wednesday the 27th, additional meals were hand-delivered to the Medway Food Pantry and Medway Housing Authority. The meals were prepared by local Bellingham restaurant Grumpy’s.
The final day of Rise-Up week featured a dine-in luncheon at the Bellingham Senior Center, where the final 1121st meal was served, and the week concluded. 
Representative Soter commented, “Everyone should be ensured access to healthy, nourishing food options, as well as feeling confident that there are people in their community who are looking out for them. I am thrilled to be able to participate in this initiative for the fourth year, and watch it blossom into a beloved tradition.”
Representative Soter is grateful for the support and assistance from Uxbridge Elderly Connection, donors, volunteers, and other local organizations that made this event possible. He looks forward to watching the Rise-Up Initiative continue to grow in future years.
Local sponsors of Rise-Up include PJ’s Bar and Grill, PJ’s Smoke ‘N’ Grill, Goodstuff Smokehouse, Kimball Sand Company, Grumpy’s Restaurant and Pub, Imperial Cars, Lobisser Companies, Campanelli, Green Site Services Group Inc., and WS Development.
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