FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jodi Falk, PhD, Director, Rachel’s Table
Jessye Deane, Executive Director, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce firstname.lastname@example.org, cell phone: 413-824-9307
RACHEL’S TABLE PROGRAM CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF FILLING THE GAP IN HUNGER ALLEVIATION IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
FOOD RESCUE PROGRAM CONTINUES TO EXPAND UPON EXISTING INITIATIVES TO SERVE THE PIONEER VALLEY
Greenfield: Food supply shortages are leaving local food pantry shelves empty, but Greenfield Cooperative Bank President Tony Worden and Merrill Gagne, Founder of Gagne Wealth Management in Greenfield, are working to change that.
Jodi Falk, Director of Rachel’s Table, a food rescue program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, initially contacted Worden and Gagne to help purchase meat to stock local pantry fridges. As a result of their generosity, Rachel’s Table purchased 708lbs of chicken, ground beef, and pork for local pantries to distribute over the holiday season. In addition, Greenfield Cooperative Bank and Rachel’s Table partnered to create a non-perishable food drive to help the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance, Salvation Army Greenfield, and the Stone Soup Café’s Free Store. The Franklin County YMCA joined the team, and the Franklin County community-wide “canned-do” food drive was born.
“Several factors are at work here,” states Jodi Falk, “one, hunger in Massachusetts is double what it was pre-pandemic, moving from 8.2% to 16.4%, two, inflation makes purchasing food challenging for people as well as agencies, and three, there are some supply chain issues that have made the typical avenues where agencies get food a little more complicated. Tony and Merrill stepping up so generously, and also encouraging their businesses to help out, especially before the holidays, makes a huge difference to our community.”
Now, Falk and Jessye Deane, Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, are calling on other Franklin County businesses and organizations to join the effort.
“The need is great, but our generosity is greater,’ said Deane. “The collaboration between businesses and nonprofits is so uniquely Franklin County. When there’s a need, we all come together to meet it- the responsiveness of Gagne Wealth Management, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, and Rachel’s Table represents the best of Franklin County.”
Rachel’s Table is making it easy for others to get involved, by providing boxes if needed as well as donation pick up and delivery. A wish list of non-perishable items can be found either on [chamber site] or www.rachelstablepv.org.
Organizations interested in helping or hosting their own food drive can contact Jay Levine at Rachel’s Table at 413-733-0084 x251. Individuals can drop off donated goods at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce offices at 79 Old Main Street in Deerfield.
About Rachel’s Table
Rachel’s Table is a food rescue, distribution, and purchase program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1992, Rachel’s Table has worked tirelessly to alleviate hunger and reduce the waste of food resources in the Pioneer Valley. Six days a week more than 200 volunteers collect food from over 60 donors such as local supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, farms, and bakeries, and deliver it to more than 50 agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in the Pioneer Valley. Rachel’s Table is also a catalyst for community activism through programs that raise awareness about food justice. Over the years, it has created special projects focusing on healthy nutrition and education such as the Gleaning Project among others, which works with youth and school groups to engage them in the service of collecting the excess produce and donating it to agencies that serve the hungry and homeless in the Pioneer Valley. The newest program, Growing Gardens, supports food justice and sustainability by supporting RT agencies to grow their own culturally appropriate and personally desired food. For more information on how to volunteer or donate visit www.rachelstablepv.org.