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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Jodi Falk, Director, jfalk@jewishwesternmass.org
Sarah Maniaci, Associate Director, smaniaci@jewishwesternmass.org

Lillian Baulding, Communications & Engagement Officer
lillianb@foodbankwma.org

RACHEL’S TABLE AND THE FOOD BANK OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS JOIN FORCES TO FEED MORE PEOPLE IN THE REGION

Partnership Brings healthy produce, meat and dairy to agencies in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties

SPRINGFIELD, MA August 25, 2021 – Rachel’s Table, (RT), the food rescue and redistribution program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts (FBWM), are joining forces to fight hunger. Rachel’s Table, with its 200 volunteer drivers, will transport the food directly from designated grocery stores to the FBWM agencies, filling the gap where agencies lacked transportation or when its volunteers were needed elsewhere.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to help deliver food to agencies, especially for those who need our transportation,” said Jodi Falk, Director of Rachel’s Table. “Transporting healthy food to people instead of it going into landfill is what we have been doing for almost 30 years and being able to use our operations to better serve our neighbors in the Pioneer Valley is a win for everyone. It is the epitome of partnership to fill gaps and support each other’s good work.”

Rachel’s Table partnership with The Food Bank began pre-pandemic in Westfield, MA, and has become revitalized during the past several months. Together, RT and The Food Bank are serving 7 agencies, with 13 RT volunteer drivers that rescue nutritious food from 8 donors in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties. Starting slowly but deliberately, over 15,000 lbs. of healthy meat, produce and dairy have been delivered since the program began, and there is more to come.

“Our teams (RT and FBWM) met together, it was clear that our services were complementary, and working together, we would positively impact the communities we serve.” said Shirley DelRio, Director of Food Operations at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Currently using volunteer cars, the RT- Food Bank Partnership drivers are servsafe-trained and use freezer blankets and infrared thermometers to ensure food deliveries remain safe. RT thanks the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts for a $7,000 grant in 2019 that helped purchase 100 blankets and thermometers for this task.

People interested in driving for Rachel’s Table, or who know of food from a local restaurant, bakery or grocery store that is going to waste, please contact Rachel’s Table at www.rachelstablepv.org.

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About Rachel’s Table

Rachel’s Table is a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1992, Rachel’s Table works 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, including local supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, farms, and bakeries; and deliver it to more than 50 agencies, such as soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in the Pioneer Valley. Rachel’s Table is also a catalyst for community activism and education through programs that raise awareness about food justice. Over the years, it has created special projects that focus on healthy nutrition and waste-awareness such as the Gleaning Project which enables school and youth groups to collect excess farm produce and donate it to agencies serving the hungry and homeless in the Pioneer Valley. For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit www.rachelstablepv.org.

About The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts believes that everyone has a right to healthy food regardless of their circumstances. Serving Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, The Food Bank leads the region’s emergency food network, distributing nutritious food to households with lower incomes. Since 1982, they have been providing individuals facing hunger with the food they need to survive and leading communities towards long-term solutions to food insecurity by addressing its underlying causes. They are committed to creating a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry, and everyone has access to nutritious food. For more information, visit foodbankwma.org.

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