FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jodi Falk or Sarah Maniaci
RACHEL’S TABLE EXPANDS 6-DAY-A-WEEK FOOD RESCUE PROGRAM INTO HAMPSHIRE COUNTY
Rachel’s Table Adds Seven New Drivers, Three Food Donors and Two Agencies in Hampshire County Area
SPRINGFIELD, MA June 21, 2021 – Rachel’s Table, the nearly 30-year-old food rescue and redistribution program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, is expanding its daily program into Hampshire County. Expansion plans include 7 Hampshire County-based drivers, 3 new food donors in Hadley, Amherst and Northampton, and 2 new agencies in Amherst and Northampton.
Rachel’s Table already rescues and distributes 100’s of pounds of healthy food to Hampden and Franklin Counties and has now officially launched its 6-day-a-week food rescue program in Hampshire County. Over the years, hundreds of volunteer gleaners rescue fruits and vegetables at the Hampshire County-based farms who donate their produce to local agencies. During the pandemic, Rachel’s Table delivered healthy meat and produce to the entire Upper Valley through its Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund including 100 pounds of meat and gallons of milk.
“One of our main goals at Rachel’s Table has been to fund programs that support food security throughout the Pioneer Valley,” says Jodi Falk, Rachel’s Table director. “While we have had a presence in Hampshire County through our gleaning program, we have now been able to expand and fill in the hunger gaps in this region by making sure local food goes to local people and not to landfill.”
Rachel’s Table also plans to bring their new Growing Garden initiative to Hampshire County, providing materials and mentoring to help Hampshire County agencies grow their own food. “This seeds the future of food security and provides more direct access to healthy, culturally appropriate and personally desired food,” says Falk.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel’s Table increased drivers and deliveries to local agencies. Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Atkins Farms, and several Pride gas stations now have their food donations delivered 3 days a week to Manna Community Soup Kitchen in Northampton. As part of its annual Foodraiser event, Rachel’s Table donated food to the Amherst Survival Center, purchased shelf-stable milk through its Kalicka fund, and provided healthy meat and produce through its Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund. Pandemic deliveries included between 70,000 to 140,000 pounds of food a month to over 53 agencies in Hamden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties.
Addie Stiles, a volunteer driver in Hampshire County says, “It’s been a great experience to be able to provide food from Atkins Farms and bring to Manna on Sunday mornings! The folks at Atkins are always so wonderful and knowing that they are willing to help our community is great. The team at Manna are always so appreciative every time I drop off. I love being able to give back to the community of Northampton, where I grew up!”
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.
During the pandemic, Rachel’s Table delivered between 70,000 to 140,000 pounds of food a month to over 53 agencies in Hamden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties. New programs such as the Growing Gardens program at Rachel’s Table supports any of its 53 agencies and their constituents to grow their own personally desired, culturally relevant food.
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 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. For more information on how to volunteer or donate visit www.rachelstablepv.org.