By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
We are so grateful for the ways our community has shown up these past 5 months since the pandemic hit. With joy and passion; teachers, food service staff, restaurant staff, and our neighbors have jumped right in to help get food to those who need it most. It has been empowering to see such heroes in action and we know there are many more in our community and across the Valley. We are happy to shine a light on some of these heroes.
If you or someone you know needs a food boost, fresh produce, shelf-stable ingredients, and prepared meals are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Meet our Food Access Heroes:
Mark and Tammy work with transportation and have been helping to provide meals for families every Tuesday and Thursday at Hampshire Heights.
Suzanne Straus! Mrs. Straus has been helping out at the Florence Heights lunch deliveries each week. When asked what she does to uplift her spirits during these times she responded, “Go outside and enjoy the sunshine, stay healthy and eat good food.”
Brian Rodriguez. Brian has been teaching special education for 5 years at Jackson Street school.
Leah, Kayla, and Paula are teachers at Ryan Road Elementary! They have been working hard to help deliver lunches each week and stay in touch with students virtually. Paula even started her own YouTube channel reading children’s stories online! Check out her channel Paula Cleary.
Northampton’s Food Service Staff! Mistelle, Kristin, Paul, Michelle, Debbie, Bryan, and Kim are only a few of the behind the scenes team, packing and sourcing lunches for the community! In case supplies run short, this stellar team is all hands on deck to get more food out to those in need!
Diana and Samantha shown here, passing out sun butter and jellies and sharing the excitement over Samantha’s newly born calf from her homestead dairy farm, Mt. Tom Dairy!
There are so many people behind the scenes to thank like Food Services Secretary, Debbie. Debbie has been working hard to coordinate the unpredictable offsite meals, a major change from the usual duties of her job. Thank you, Debbie!
Belly of the Beast has donated over 2,000 delicious, locally sourced meals for kids and their families since March! They have rallied many other local businesses to support this effort and continue to provide meals to those in our community every Thursday.
Special shoutout to our beloved food services director, Mistelle Hannah! Mistelle goes above and beyond everyday to bring delicious, healthy, and locally sourced meals to our community. Here she is pictured picking up a delivery from Red Fire Farm.
Stellar Food service staff, Kim, with our adorable, fresh lettuce heads from Kitchen Garden Farm.
Haymarket Cafe donates over 500 meals each week to community organizations addressing food insecurity! Delicious meals and deserts are available on Tuesdays, as part of our grab and go adult meals.
Special (not pictured shoutouts):
Attendance and Outreach Social Worker, Kelley Knight- Kelly works tirelessly to deliver food to those who are not reached by the school meal sites.
Take a minute to reflect on your own food hero. Someone who has inspired you to create delicious, healthy recipes, helped you access or learn how to grow your favorite vegetable, or helped you access food resources when you needed it most.