On a brisk December day with flurries in the air, we gathered together at the Hampshire Heights delivery site with elected officials, residents, volunteers, staff and board members, and friends to toast the success of the Community Food Distribution Project (CFDP) over the last 20 months.
The CFDP began in the early days of the pandemic as a partnership with the Northampton Survival Center to provide local produce to food insecure residents of Northampton. Since then Grow Food Northampton has coordinated the purchasing and delivery of over 150 tons of produce! All of the produce is local so the CFDP is supporting our local farms while also delivering beautiful produce to 14 Northampton neighborhoods each week. To date we have delivered over 90,000 food packages with the help of over 200 volunteers. The CFDP is also made stronger by great collaboration with residents of the housing communities that it serves, including the Food Access Advisory Committee that was formed to shape the future of Grow Food Northampton’s food access work in low income neighborhoods. All of this collaboration and good work was the focus of the Holiday Celebration!
GFN’s Executive Director Alisa Klein began the celebration with remarks about the program and thanking those in attendance. Northampton Mayor-Elect Gina-Louise Sciarra then spoke to the group about her own personal experience as a volunteer with the CFDP, as well as its important impact on combating food insecurity in the city.Next up, Kia Aoki, a CFDP participant, spoke about the ways in which the CFDP has benefitted her and her neighbors, and how serving as a member of the Food Access Advisory Committee and soon-to-be GFN board member has enriched her life. Finally, GFN’s Associate Director, Michael Skillicorn, led us in a toast with local apple cider to the CFDP and food security for all. After the remarks and toast, folks set out to deliver this week’s food packages which included a special treat from Florence Pie Bar for the holidays!
“I had the pleasure of volunteering with this project. The time that I spent volunteering really grounded and centered me. Hauling a bag of carrots feels really good! Seeing the just-harvested vegetables come off the truck and then being able to share that food within an hour, really does something for one’s soul.” -Mayor-Elect Gina-Louise Sciarra
Thank you to the large group of elected officials who joined us to celebrate including State Senator Jo Comerford, State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, City Council President and Mayor-Elect Gina-Louise Sciarra, School Committee Member Susan Voss, School Committee Member Rebecca Busansky, City Councilor Michael Quinlan, City Councilors-Elect Jamila Gore, Marissa Elkins and Stan Moulton and School Committee Member-Elect Gwen Agna. Congressman Jim McGovern’s office was represented by staffer Kobi Gardner-Levine. Mayor David Narkewicz sent his regrets as he had to attend his last MA Mayor’s Association meeting before he finishes his term.
“We gathered a bunch of people and talked about how to make the distribution better, more tailored to what people want to have. We came up with a lot of really good ideas and a bunch of them got implemented and we used them all throughout this summer, and it was great!” Kia Aoki, Food Access Advisory Committee member
Check out these press links for more on the CFDP Holiday Celebration: