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RACHEL’S TABLE CELEBRATES ACQUISITION OF NEW REFRIGERATED VAN, $75,000 GRANT WITH HELP FROM AREA LEGISLATORS, AND NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH MGM SPRINGFIELD TO FURTHER INCREASE PROGRAM’S REACH IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
Van, grant, and new partnership will help Rachel’s Table rescue thousands more pounds of food annually, and extend its reach in Western Massachusetts
SPRINGFIELD, MA November 16, 2022 – Rachel’s Table (RT), a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts (JFWM), unveiled its first refrigerated van, which was made possible by a $75,000 amendment filed by Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow) and Representative Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow) in the American Rescue Plan Act. Rachel’s Table also announced a new food rescue partnership with MGM Springfield and that it would receive an additional $75,000 amendment filed by the Senator Lesser and Representative Ashe to the FY23 state budget to support the program’s food rescue work, including operational expenses that include the van’s maintenance. The announcements were made at a ribbon cutting ceremony at MGM Springfield where legislators, local community leaders, non-profit partners, and Rachel’s Table volunteers gathered to celebrate the news.
“In our thirty years of fighting hunger, we have found that we can have a bigger impact when various entities collaborate to create solutions that matter,” said Jodi Falk, Rachel’s Table director. “That is why we are overwhelmed with gratitude towards Senator Lesser, Representative Ashe, and MGM Springfield for supporting our work. Thanks to these amendments and our MGM Springfield partnership we will be able to travel longer distances to rescue and deliver food as well as consistently provide a larger variety and thousands of pounds more of food to more people who need it most.”
“Rachel’s Table is an organization rooted in community, fighting each day to tackle food insecurity and inspiring community activism in others,” stated Senator Eric P. Lesser. “Their mission brings volunteers from various backgrounds and ages together to collect and distribute unused food to those who truly need it. I am grateful for their efforts and our ability to come together today and celebrate the inaugural trip of their new refrigerated van.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with and seeing firsthand, the incredibly important work that Rachel’s Table does throughout our communities. Food is the fuel we all need to start our day and keep moving forward,” stated Representative Brian Ashe. “Sadly, not everyone is able to have food on their table and that is a travesty. I know that this refrigerated van will assist Rachel’s Table to reach even more people in need and I’m proud to work with Senator Lesser, MGM and Jodi Falk to help this come to fruition.”
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the refrigerated van made its first official trip by transporting an MGM Springfield donation of approximately 3,500 pounds of surplus food to the Salvation Army Liberty, Clinical and Support Option’s Friends of the Homeless, Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, Springfield Rescue Mission, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry, Kate’s Kitchen, and All Nation’s Church. The new partnership between Rachel’s Table and MGM Springfield will be ongoing and consist of a variety of surplus food from its dining facilities. Depending on the type of food donated at the time by MGM Springfield, local partners will be selected to receive the food.
“MGM Springfield is proud to support Rachel’s Table by regularly donating surplus food to be distributed to those in need,” said Chris Smigel, MGM Springfield Executive Director of Hospitality. “We value our relationship with this incredible organization and are grateful to be part of their mission to tackle food insecurity throughout our community.”
The van will be driven by the Rachel’s Table fleet of volunteers who have been specially trained to drive this van. The van will primarily pick up food requiring refrigeration, such as meat and dairy, and make deliveries six days a week throughout Western Massachusetts. It will be able to transport up to four pallets and close to 2,800 pounds of food.
To learn more about how Rachel’s Table meets the food gap in the Pioneer Valley, make a donation, or volunteer visit www.rachelstablepv.org.
To download photos of the ribbon cutting event click here.
About Rachel’s Table
Rachel’s Table is a 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 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. It also created Growing Gardens, which supports any RT-affiliated agencies to grow their own food for direct access to self-determined, healthy and culturally appropriate food. For more information on how to volunteer or donate visit www.rachelstablepv.org.