TOWNSEND -- The community rallied around Glenn Roberts during a fundraising dinner for the man who grew up in Townsend. Friends, family and total strangers made the evening a success.
The dinner was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 2. People were waiting in line at 5 o'clock. By 6:30, all 250 tickets for the pasta supper were sold. "We can't sell anymore; there's no more food," said Jan Wesson one of the organizers.
By the end of the evening at the Townsend Meeting Hall, over 2,000 tickets for the Chinese auction were sold. Shauna Roberts, Glenn's sister-in-law manned the ticket sale table. "Amazing, incredible, I'm dumbfounded," she said.
The dinner was held to raise money to help Glenn, who now lives in Ashby, pay for the new treatment he is getting to treat his ALS. He was diagnosed with the fatal neurolgical disease this summer.
Roberts, 48, who difficulty talking, was up and about, connecting with old friends and reminiscing about his days at North Middlesex Regional High School with people he had not seen in a while.
A college friend of Glenn's wife Deb Roberts is now a teacher at Fitchburg High School. He brought along a few new friends, nearly 30. Phil Moore runs the Step Up to Excellence Program that matches students with mentors. Part of the requirements for graduating from the program is volunteering.
"They go well above. They all love to do it," the teacher said. About half the students and mentors arrived at 4 p.m. to set up and left early. The other half remained to clean when the dinner was over.
"They're awesome," said Wesson who had assistance from the group in seating people for their meals. As people finished, their settings were cleared so more people could eat.
Other Fitchburg volunteers were busy in the kitchen. Tasks were flowing smoothly in the center of operations under the guidance of senior center volunteer Donna Fenton. People stepped up to drain the large vats of pasta, prepare salads and plate the meals.
Others brought food and beverages to the diners. The self-serve dessert table was strategically placed near the big raffle prizes: a flat screen television, a Sam Thorpe print and a handmade quilt.
The evening was a winning situation for all. The Roberts family and their community connected with each other during a difficult time. Everyone got a hearty meal and the organizers and other volunteers had another reward.
"We had so much fun," said Cheryl Simoneau, one of the organizers, "Everyone worked so well together."
Members of the community can still continue to contribute. During February, Bailey's Bar and Grille will make a donation for each hamburger sold.