Looking for last-minute holiday gifts such as … vintage goodies, clothing and household items?

CAM00922 (1)A few months ago my neighbor gave me this blouse and other goodies. What I didn’t use I donated to non-profits, with one very nice pair of shoes (new) going to Abby’s. … All your donations are tax-deductible.   – R. Tirella

… then shop where our Parlee Jones works – ABBY’S HOUSE!

52 High St., Worcester

Parlee runs their homeless shelter; she places women, often fleeing domestic violence, in safe spaces.

By shopping at Abby’s House THRIFT SHOP (52 High St., across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral) you support the shelter and the homeless women for whom it spells HOME.

Lots of greats buys! Lots of items Diamonds in the Rough! Don’t forget! The money you spend at the shop goes towards supporting Worcester’s iconic women’s shelter.


Learn more (from their website):

Abby’s House Thrift Shop

The Abby’s House Thrift Shop continues to be our largest single source of revenue.

All of the profits from sales at the Thrift Shop fund our emergency shelter.

The Thrift Shop is full of quality clothing, accessories, home goods, and bargain-priced cosmetics.

We encourage you to visit the store today, not only to donate clothing and homegoods, but to add some great pieces to your wardrobe!


Monday through Thursday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fridays: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Saturdays: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

The Thrift Shop is closed on holidays. When Worcester Public Schools declares a snow day, the Thrift Shop will be closed.

In case of bad weather, please call ahead to make sure we’re open: (508) 756-5486 extension 12.

Making Donations:

Donations are accepted during regular shop hours. We are happy to accept gently used, seasonal women’s clothing in good condition and household items of all kinds including kitchenware, lamps and decorative items. New, unopened health and beauty products are also welcome.

At times we are in need of furniture in good condition that may be used to set up an apartment, such as small kitchen sets or desk sets. If you would like to make a furniture donation, please call ahead.

We do NOT accept books, computers, TVs, furniture, records, record players, hangers, used pillows, men’s clothing or used children’s clothing and toys.

Please note that due to the new laws regarding child safety we can only accept children’s clothing or toys if they are NEW, in package or tagged.

CLICK HERE to visit the Abby’s House website to learn more!

From The Boston Globe: farmers markets and SNAP cards …

I’ve been meaning to post this BOSTON GLOBE editorial for weeks…   –    R.T.


Food stamps for fresh food: More produce, more benefits

THE SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal food stamp program, has often struggled with the “nutrition” part of its mandate. The problem is that fresh fruits and vegetables are often too expensive for low-income families to afford, especially if they have to rely on benefits for most of their groceries.

The latest farm bill, signed into law earlier this year, offers a simple, innovative solution. The legislation doubles the value of SNAP benefits when they are used to purchase produce bought at local grocery stores or farmers markets who agree to participate.

The program, called the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, provides $100 million over the next five years in grants to organizations that help make fruit and vegetables more affordable to SNAP recipients. The grant program is focused on encouraging people to buy more produce. …

CLICK HERE to read entire editorial!

Farmers markets in our inner-city that don’t take SNAP or WIC cards, don’t let poor seniors use their farmers market coupons to buy bread ….

… yet they receive non-profit sponsorship $$$  from Harvard Pilgrim health. WTF?!


LEARN how to counter CLASSISM at FARMERS MARKETS when REC makes a presentation at …

… the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) 28th Annual Winter Conference, Saturday, January 10.

At Worcester State University, Chandler Street.

Featuring 70 workshops, exhibits, an all-day seminar and keynote by Greg Judy, rotational grazier and carbon sequestration advocate.

The conference draws about 1,000 participants from Massachusetts and neighboring states, including seasoned and beginning farmers, urban homesteaders, backyard gardeners, food activists, and others.

2015 workshop topics include crop production, farm management, health, homesteading, livestock, beekeeping, policy, skill building, infrastructure, soil, urban/backyard gardening and organic land care.

The conference will be followed by a post-conference dinner with Greg Judy.


Members of [Worcester REC’s] YouthGROW will be presenting a workshop entitled Gentrification in the Food System.

The workshop will focus on:

the rapid growth of the food justice movement and “foodie” culture that has often excluded communities of color, youth and the poor

.. and the many ways we can work to reverse this trend.

Ralph Weah, Assistant Farm Manager, and Chad McClain, Assistant Youth Coordinator will share stories and strategies for dismantling racism and creating inclusive spaces.

We’d love to see you at our workshop:

1:30 p.m – 3 p.m. – Saturday, January 10, at Worcester State University! 

 For more information, please visit nofamass.org/winterconference

Holiday news from the Worcester Historical Museum

Don’t miss…

Home for the Holidays at Salisbury Mansion

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 1:00 to 4:00pm thru December 31.

Come join in the…

Candlelight tours at the Mansion.  Declared by USA Today this year as one of the “10 best” holiday candlelight tours.   Tours are available Friday, December 19th and 26th 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Members $5; non-member adults $8; children free.

Last minute holiday shopping?

Come to the WHM Gift Shop (Elm Street) and find limited edition Smiley ties, books, ornaments, and much more.  Shop is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Give the gift of membership!

A WHM membership is also the perfect gift for any Worcester fan.

Or become a member and save!
As a member, you enjoy special benefits and discounts throughout the year, including 10% off in the Museum Gift Shop throughout the year.  Your purchases also help support the Museum and its many programs!


Top 5 Tips for a vegan Christmas


Top Five Tips for a Vegan Christmas Feast

The following article was written by Keegan Baur.

This Christmas, are you looking for quick, easy, and delectable vegan foods to serve at your holiday meal or party? Whether you’re vegan or you know someone who is—or you just want to “test out the waters”—here are some suggestions for irresistible, cruelty-free fare for your holiday get-together.

1.   Succulent main courses: There are plenty of ready-to-eat choices, but PETA’s pick is Gardein’s new Savory Stuffed Turk’y. Other flavorful options include Turtle Island Foods’ Tofurky Roast and Field Roast’s Celebration Roast.

2.   Veganize the classics: You can easily use vegetable stock, vegan margarine, and unsweetened soy milk to veganize family favorites such as stuffing andmashed potatoes with gravy. In bread and savory dishes, use Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of eggs, and in sweet baked goods, use apple sauce or bananas. Refer to these articles for more specifics on replacements for dairy products and eggs.

3.   Divine desserts: Decadent nondairy, egg-free desserts from New York City’s famous Candle Café are now available at most Whole Foods Market locations. …

To read entire story, CLICK HERE

Benefit Street community garden revived! Needs growers for next season!


Dear REC Members and Supporters,

I really appreciate this time of year. Colder temperatures and shorter days signal the end of the growing season, and I get a chance to retreat to the office to spend time reflecting on the busy summer season.

This summer, I had the pleasure of working with 40 freshman students from University Park Campus School (UPCS). Our mission was to revive the Benefit Street Community Garden. As a result of a decline in the number of community gardeners, the garden was beginning to resemble a pristine meadow sandwiched between two apartment buildings, rather than an active community garden.

Over the course of three weeks, we packed the REC pickup truck full of tall grasses, and overgrown weeds. We picked up trash within the garden and along the street. We cleared paths, and spread compost. We outlined plots for future community gardeners, established a perennial butterfly and herb garden, and even set aside a garden plot for UPCS.

The garden transformation was incredible. Each day neighbors walked by and thanked us for our hard work. Some even signed up to garden in 2015. The students were a huge help in getting Benefit Street Garden back up and running. Their hard work has motivated other community members to get involved, and has contributed to a greater positive impact within the neighborhood. If you or someone you know is interested in growing at any of the 37 community gardens within the city, sign up [below].

[ALSO:] Please consider supporting us by donating to our Annual Appeal!

[editor’s note: CLICK HERE to donate to REC this holiday season! CLICK HERE to sign up to be a part of the Benefit Street garden or any of REC’s Worcester community gardens!]

Stacie Brimmage

UGROW Coordinator

Shhhh… Don’t tell … . These toys are Jett’s Christmas presents from his “Auntie” Kathy …

Aren’t they cute? 


But he’s so spoiled! I don’t know if he’ll be impressed!

Impress yourself! Adopt a wonderful pooch (GORGEOUS mixes and purebreds) at the Worcester Animal Rescue League on Holden Street, Worcester! (I got Jett there!)

These beautiful dogs need homes for the holidays! CLICK HERE to see the awesome pups and pup-ettes  available for adoption at WARL!

Isn’t this baby cute?! Ready to go at WARL! 


Remember: Always adopt!

Never buy a dog or puppy from a breeder (there are a ton of homeless purebreds!) or pet store (they sell sickly puppy-mill puppies!)

– R. T.