Rachel’s Table donates 1,327 turkeys to 28 agencies in the Pioneer Valley

  • People who went to the Orange Food Pantry on Wednesday were offered the usual pantry items, as well as a turkey donated by Rachel’s Table. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/24/2021 1:38:22 PM

ORANGE — Rachel’s Table, the 30-year-old food rescue program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, has distributed 1,327 turkeys to 28 agencies in the Pioneer Valley in an effort to alleviate hunger and reduce waste of food resources in the region.

This month, the agencies in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties received turkeys purchased by Rachel’s Table, with additional support provided by the Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. This surpasses 2020’s record delivery of 1,310 turkeys.

Arnold’s Meats delivered the turkeys to area food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens, according to the agency. In addition to the Franklin County Community Meals Program, which operates food pantries and meal sites in Greenfield, Orange, Turners Falls and Northfield, recipients included the Springfield Rescue Mission, Community Survival Center and Amherst Survival Center. Additionally, The Gray House of Springfield received 100 full turkey dinners including stuffing, vegetables and fixings. Kosher turkeys were distributed to those in need who observe Jewish dietary laws.

“We recognize the financial challenges many families face this year, so we are truly thankful that we are able to help more households enjoy a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving,” Sarah Maniaci, associate director of Rachel’s Table, said in a statement. “This year we are also thankful for our friends in the community who have helped us make the purchase and delivery of thousands of turkeys to families across the Pioneer Valley possible.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Franklin County Community Meals Program as many as 60 turkeys were distributed on Wednesday at the weekly Orange Food Pantry meal distribution.

Rachel Berggren, executive director of the Franklin County Community Meals Program, said that in addition to the regular food items for distribution — which is typically held on Thursdays at the pantry, but was moved to Wednesday this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday — a selection of “Thanksgiving fixings” was also available, including the turkeys purchased by Rachel’s Table.

“We wouldn’t have it without Rachel’s Table,” Berggren said. “The only way we can do the work we do is through community.”

The Thanksgiving Fund is a signature program of Rachel’s Table that was established many years ago by Daydie Hochberg on her 70th birthday. In her honor, Daydie’s friends, family, and community continue to carry out her wish to bring Thanksgiving to every home. Judy Yaffe, Daydie’s cousin and current Rachel’s Table board member, organized the distribution, according to Rachel’s Table.

To donate or for more information on this and other programs, call (413) 733-0084 or visit rachelstablepv.org.

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