Summer CSGC Grant Update: Second Helpings

This summer I am using my CSGC Summer Grant to work with Second Helpings, an organization serving a free dinner every Monday. This meal is utilized by Franklin County community members who are struggling with food insecurities. This is my third year participating, and it is something I look forward to each week.

This year, as I have also had other commitments, I have partnered with Kelly Howe to make sure one of us can attend each week. My role is to, in preparation for the meal, shop for anything we may need for the dinner such as apples, milk, and granola bars. Then, on the day of the meal, I pick up the main course from DA, and drive it over to the church in Greenfield where the dinner is served. There, I work with three additional participants to prepare other parts of the meal such as lemonade and coffee, as well as to portion out each part of the dinner into to-go containers. Because of COVID, community members are unable to sit with one another inside while they eat, something we have enjoyed in the past, so we instead have a walk-up window where we hand the meals out from.

Thus far I have only been able to attend one week this summer, but am looking forward to many to come!

-Anna Zusi ’22

This past winter break, I worked at the Yankee Candle Warehouse in South Deerfield, and I realized there is a lot about my community and the people living in it that I had never seen. When Anna asked me to fill in for her at Second Helpings at the Saint James and Andrew Church in Greenfield, I thought it would be a great experience to continue expanding my connections to the broader community, outside of the “Deerfield Bubble.”

Each Monday, either Anna or I pick up trays of food from the DA Dining Hall at around 2:30 p.m. and transport it. Sometimes on the way over to the church, we have to stop to pick up some groceries at Big Y. Once we arrive, we prepare the food and then serve over 50 meals to residents of Greenfield. I have done three Mondays so far, and each time I’ve had a slightly different role. I’ve handed out refreshments, packed the bags of food, and kept track, in a notebook, of how many meals we’ve served. We hand out food from 4:30-5:30pm, and afterwards we clean the kitchen and put everything away for the following week.

So far during my experience with Second Helpings, I have gotten to meet and work with some great adults. There is a range of people – some like myself, who have just started volunteering – and some who have worked with the church for almost 20 years. Everyone has been extremely welcoming, and it has been wonderful to work closely with people from many different backgrounds. With my remaining Mondays, I hope to continue to make connections with the people of Greenfield.

Thank you to Anna for asking me to help her out with this experience, as well as to the CSGC for this opportunity!

-Kelly Howe ’22