This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/students/grants.
Yesterday, I delivered my last one hundred bags to LifePath. Three days before that, I spent the morning on Main Street in Greenfield handing out the last bags for August. The same things that I have been doing for almost four months now. Yet, this felt markedly different. Every person who came up to the storefront knew me, and I them. Unlike those first tentative weeks when we were unfamiliar, not quite trusting of one another, last Saturday I had a conversation with almost all of the steady stream of people who stopped by. One man showed me the pet parrot perched atop his shoulder, another asked me to pleaseinclude the salted cashews next time. I was no longer a person handing out food to the hungry, I was a friend helping out another by providing them a nutritious meal.
I founded Nobody Goes Hungry with, honestly, no idea what I was getting myself into. My original GoFundMe goal was $500—enough to make 100 bags. Apart from this, and knowing that I wanted to help my community in a manner similar to that which I did when I volunteered at the food pantry or community meal, I wasn’t sure exactly what my plan was. And then, suddenly, I needed to. Overnight my fundraiser took off, and before I knew it, I had almost $2000. I felt accountable to these people who had trusted me to use their money to feed people, and responsibility to my community to ensure it got fed.
The GSGC grant that I received this summer allowed me to take the accountability and responsibility in stride. The funds permitted me to reach out to LifePath and to create fuller, high quality bags. This peaked the interest of the local press, resulting in five articles written about Nobody Goes Hungry in various newspapers. I was able to reach more people, and whether that means they donated, received food, or learned about food insecurity, I do believe that it gave hope and inspiration to my community.
Ending this summer, I am not the same person that I was when I started. For one, I exceeded what I thought I was capable of doing. I ended up raising $5000, and to date have made approximately 600 bags of food. I am more knowledgeable about hunger, and not just in terms of statistics. Getting to know the people that I give food to has enlightened me on my pre-existing judgments about those in need, and I am a better person for it. I also now know that there is so much more work I need to do. Nobody should have to choose between rent and food, or medicine and food, or health and food, but these are all problems that I encountered people struggling with every day. Nobody Should Go Hungry.
I am unsure about what the future holds for Nobody Goes Hungry. Currently, I have funds to continue my efforts, and will do so until I no longer have enough money. With COVID cases rising in the valley and the Academy starting in a few weeks, NGH might move to a delivery-based service. Or, I might wait until winter, when hunger is always rampant in Franklin County and the virus may be hurting even more people to resume activity. Or, I may do something completely different! If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them, so please reach out. Because, NGH is not about me, it is about the community, and I want to do whatever I can to best serve it.
by Juliette Lowe ’21