Tag Archives: nutrition

Helping folks eat healthy – 🎵🎵 🌽🍅🍆💗 to our souls!

St. John’s Food Program: Helping the Working Poor Survive – And Saving Lives!

By Dorrie Maynard

ICT editor Rose called me a month ago and asked me to write a story about St. John’s church (located on Temple Street in Worcester) – specifically the church’s amazing  food distribution center/pantry/kitchen. I balked – told Rose there have been many stories written about St. John’s and that I would not have anything interesting to add. However, she pressed the issue, like she always does, so I took the assignment … and onward I went!!!

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ICT’s intrepid Dorrie Maynard at St. John’s church community kitchen!🌺

First, I had to talk to the program’s director Bill Riley to see if he was interested in doing a story for InCity Times and go from there. Volunteering with Central Mass Kibble Kitchen, I am at St. John’s twice monthly passing out pet food to the working poor who have cats or dogs to feed, so I know Bill. I went in and asked him if he was up for another story – a cover story. To my
surprise, he agreed! He told me to be at the church’s St. Francis food center (named after the patron saint of the poor) the following Tuesday at 7 am when the doors open and I could shadow him for the morning.

I called Rose to tell her that Bill had agreed. She was ecstatic! I told her Billy wanted me at St. John’s  for 7 a.m!!!! I like my beauty sleep!😉 I don’t get out of bed to go to my
real job until 7:30 a.m! So “heading to church” for 7 a.m  was not something
I was looking forward to!  I had to have my early bird sister give me a wake up so I’d be sure I was up at 6 am the following Tuesday.

When I got her call that day it was
still dark out!!!! …

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My dogs were a bit confused as
well! We never get up at this “unGodly” hour, but I had made the commitment, now I had to walk the walk! I got to St. John’s about 7 a.m. when the doors to their community kitchen open, there was a line already out the door – folks waiting to get a free, nutritious breakfast to start their day. About 70% of the folks who go to the food kitchen are the working poor – THEY HAVE JOBS BUT AFTER PAYING RENT AND OTHER BILLS THEY HAVE TROUBLE BUYING GROCERIES FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES. St. John’s supplements their usually minimum wage pay checks. The rest of the “guests” are the homeless/struggling.

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Church and school groups offer their time and people power! They volunteer at St. John’s food pantry/kitchen, helping to feed the hungry, as Jesus Christ preached to the world! pics: Dorrie Maynard👼

Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I made my way in to the food pantry to find Bill. He suggested that I stick around – work the food line for the day – and get a real feel for the place. I would see how things ran … I was already up, so even though I wasn’t happy about the game plan, I decided to take a step and observe the busy-ness of the place.

Bill showed me around a bit and then handed me my apron and told me to get behind the counter and start serving!!! Pronto! I was put in the front line at the bread station. I was
giving out bread and placing ham on it so people could make sandwiches to either eat there or “to go. ” Diners next stop was the girl beside me who was putting cheese on the ham. Then from her, “guests” put on condiments.

It really was quite assembly line – a bit crazy at times, but once I got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing!

There was such volume …

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Some of the hundreds of pounds of donated food!

…and people wanting ham but not thr cheese! Or two pieces of ham – not three! Some folks wanted wheat bread, some wanted white, some didn’t want the ends, some didn’t care.

At one point, I heard someone yell at me: “Hey, aren’t you the cat food lady?” They remembered me from my Kibble Connections visits!

I said: YAH!

There are many people who visit St. John’s for their breakfast and lunch and then visit the Mustard Seed soup kitchen for their dinner. I volunteer at the Mustard Seed too – giving out pet
food every Wednesday through the Kibble Connection. And I also help the poor or himeless by giving out items that people need on a regular basis – so
there were many familiar faces at St. John’s!

Bill told me they feed several hundred people daily!!! He feels for the people who pay their rent and bills and don’t have enough money to feed themselves (as their food stamps have been cut back) or buy extra items that are needed. Some people are indeed homeless and
struggling with addictions.

Everyone is welcome at St. John’s, assuming they can adhere to the “tight ship” that Bill runs and maintains. Bill is a former prison guard who tolerates no games, no dealing, no rudeness, no cutting in line, no problems on the premisses. There is a Worcester Police officer on duty at all times to enforce this policy, if needed.

Bill pretty much knows everyone by name and shows everyone respect and goes above and beyond to make people happy.

People come to him with special requests: asking for a cake
for a birthday, some ice cream for a family celebration, some cottage cheese, some fruit,etc. Bill either goes in
the back to find it himself or asks one of his many dedicated volunteers to make the journey into the many places where these goodies can be found! He’s a truly selfless man!

St. John’s has been blessed with the support/partnership of the Stop & Shop supermarket chain …

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Bill has two vans that are out daily making pick ups of food that hasn’t sold but is still completely edible. Bill also gets many donations from other retailers that are unable to sell things for one reason or another. On the day that I was there, he was fortunate enough to receive a large donation of
new bed pillows! There was something wrong with the UPC labels that made them
unsalable. Bill is super generous and asked if I would like to have some for the women at Abby’s House. Knowing that we can always use items for the shelter guests, I quickly said YES!

Another person I need to mention that has generously contributed to the success of St. John’s Xavier Food Center is Frank Carroll. He has helped to build the building and the new cooler that was much needed. Frank is on the board and is a member of the Church community. When Frank’s wife died, Bill and several of his volunteers stood outside on the sidewalk between the Church and the center when her body was driven by in the hearse to pay their final respects.

Pastor Father Madden is also a very visible figure at the Xavier Center! He runs a ROBUST AND WELCOMING ST. JOHN’S CHURCH THAT EMBRACES COMMUNITY!

I had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Madden the day that I was there and was present when he said grace before the meal. Everyone stood together, and even though they may have been different from each other on many levels, it was so great to see everyone standing together and praying and hoping for the same things!

At the end of the day, Bill turned to me and said: “Dorrie, you got your story.”

And that I did💗.

St. John’s Xavier Center is a place that people can go to to get a good meal,a smile, mutual respect and, if they are lucky enough, a new bed pillow!💗💗

The hours at St. John’s Xavier food Center are Monday through Friday, 7 am – 11 am. Food is served there and food is also given away. Families seeking food boxes must live within the 01604 zip code.

Saturdays 8 am -10 am – the St. John’s church free veggies and fruits (and other goodies!) give away. The location is 20 Temple St.

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Free veggies and fruit at St. John’s, every Saturday morning!

How I Saved Money by Going Vegan

From PETA.ORG:

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By Shekalia

Back in the day, I wasn’t necessarily swimming in cash. I was a student, so you can imagine how empty my pockets were. When I found out that animals suffer miserably on cramped factory farms for our food, I was determined not to let my financial situation deter me from going vegan. But I was surprised to learn how affordable vegan foods are and that I could actually save money by ditching animal-derived foods and planning my meals.

I created a budget and became a money-saving ninja. And now I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned. Here’s how I saved money by going vegan:

Brainstorm Meal Ideas Before Making Your Grocery List

Some folks make the mistake of creating a shopping list without actually thinking about what they’re going to cook. Don’t do that. Instead, sit down and think, “What dishes do I want to make?” By doing this key first step, you’ll avoid overspending at the store and start saving money.

Here are some ideas for meals that are cheap and easy to make:

Stir-fry: This can be made up of anything, and it only takes one pot. Just chop up your fave veggies, heat up some oil, and start frying. Add some cooked noodles and tofu.
Pasta: You can buy pasta for as little as $1—and pasta sauce is just as cheap. Add veggies like onions and mushrooms for texture.

Chili: All this dish requires is beans, veggies, and spices, and voilà—you’re done! You can’t beat this simple go-to meal, plus chili can be used in a variety of ways: Put it on fries, on Fritos, on nachos—the list goes on. If cooking isn’t your thing, most grocery stores carry “vegetarian” chili that’s actually vegan. Just check the label to make sure that it doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients.

Don’t Forget the Staples — and Buy in Bulk

Food is usually cheaper when you buy it in large quantities — and if your kitchen is always stocked, you won’t be tempted to order expensive takeout when cravings hit. Stock up on staples like beans, grains, nuts, and frozen fruits and veggies. (I like to buy quinoa in bulk because it can be more expensive in smaller amounts.) Sometimes, I prepare a large portion of beans and rice to eat with other dishes that I cook during the week. This saves me time and brain power, as I don’t have to come up with a meal from scratch.

Shop Sales

We all love a good deal. Plan your grocery shopping around when stores and markets have sales. And don’t skip the dollar store — most stores carry staples like beans, rice, pasta, and frozen produce as well as other vegan options. Go to your local dollar store and browse the aisles — you never know what you may find.

Cook!

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I started cooking when I was 6 and was quite the little chef — although it involved mostly meat-based dishes. When I went vegan, I realized that preparing meat-free meals is far simpler. Cooking your own meals saves you money, too, while sparing your body the negatives effects of eating unhealthy takeout.

While cooking at home will save you money, there’ll be moments when you need to grab a bite to eat on the go. Taco Bell, Subway, and other vegan-friendly fast-food places have meals that’ll fill you up for just a few bucks!

Try Mock Meats and Tofu

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Mock meats like those made by Gardein and Tofurky are great sometimes. Don’t focus on replacing meat with mock meat, though. Instead, concentrate on eating more whole foods — and don’t forget about our friend tofu. One block can cost as little as 99 cents, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s also a better, cheaper substitute for meat that can be found at pretty much any grocery store.

By going vegan, you’ll be able to eat well for cheap and you won’t contribute to animals’ suffering. Knowing that piglets’ tails are cut off without painkillers, male chicks are ground up alive, and cows are separated from their calves inspired me to change my lifestyle — and as a result, I was able to cut my spending in half. I no longer buy meat, dairy foods, or eggs, which accounted for most of my budget in the past. I now buy and prepare affordable, nutritious plant-based foods. What could be better than saving money and being kind to animals and my body?

ACTION ALERT! Support Urban Agriculture in Worcester!

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We Help Make Change in Your Local Food System!

For the past 3 years, we have been working with the City of Worcester on a zoning ordinance that would allow commercial farming in the City of Worcester.

Over the past year, the process has been stalled and community advocates have no longer been included in the development of the policy, or in the process for bringing it to the community.

We asked some of our key partners to start making phone calls to City Hall, and as a result Councilor Rivera asked for the Urban Agriculture Ordinance to be on the agenda at TONIGHT’s City Council meeting – Tuesday, January 31, at 7 p.m.

WE NEED YOU TO COME SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

How can you do that?

1. Come to Worcester City Hall, 3rd floor for the meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, January 31 at 7 pm. Bring a sign if you want! Having extra people in the room shows a lot of support!

2. Come and speak at City Council. Are you an aspiring small farmer? Are you a beekeeper? Are you an avid gardener that might like to sell some of what you grow? Come and share your story! You WILL make a difference!

3. If you can’t come but have something to say, send an email … we can read your remarks. Don’t forget to include your zip code as a City resident.

4. If you can’t come, call your City Councilor and let them know your interest in and support of the ordinance and that you won’t be able to attend the meeting in person, but that you’re supportive.

GET INVOLVED TODAY!

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Go, Jimmy, go!!!! … McGovern Kicks Off Summer Meals Tour For Low-Income Students in Central Mass

NEXT MONDAY, JULY 18!!!

McGovern Kicks Off Summer Meals Tour For Low-Income Students in Central and Western Massachusetts

Congressman Jim McGovern will kick off his third annual Summer Food Rocks Tour next Monday to highlight USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program and how it helps ensure that low-income students in Massachusetts do not go hungry during the summer months when school is out of session.

This year’s tour includes visits to Worcester, Athol, Turner Falls, Ware and Webster.

As part of Congressman McGovern’s third annual tour, he will lead a roundtable with state and local leaders to talk about how the summer food program helps communities in need and visit summer meals sites at schools across the region.

Joining Congressman McGovern on the day-long tour will be:

· Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

· Kurt Messner, USDA Northeast Regional Administrator Food and Nutrition Service

· Candice Stoiber, USDA Northeast Region Director Special Nutrition Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service

· Rob Leshin, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Acting Director of the Office for Nutrition Programs

The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites. Full info on Monday’s tour is below:

7:45AM – 8:10AM in ATHOL

Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Orange School Committee Leaders

Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students

Athol High School, 2363 Main Street, Athol

8:40AM – 9:15AM in TURNER FALLS

Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Gill and Montague Regional School Leaders

Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students

Unity Park, 7 First Street, Turner Falls

10:10AM – 11:15AM in WARE

Congressman McGovern; Ellen Parker (Project Bread Executive Director); Julie Wayman (Project Bread Child Nutrition Outreach Director); Christina Maxwell (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Programs Director); Abby Getman (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Planning and Advocacy Coordinator); Simca Hoorwitz (Eastern Massachusetts Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School); Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; MA State Senator Anne Gobi

Summer Food Rocks Tour Roundtable Discussion

Ware Junior and Senior High School, 237 West Street, Ware

11:15AM – 11:45AM in WARE

Congressman McGovern; Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Senator Anne Gobi, Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; and Ware School Committee Leaders;

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Kaziol Elementary School, 4 Gould Road, Ware

12:35PM – 1:00PM in WEBSTER

Congressman McGovern, Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Rep. Joseph McKenna; and Webster School Committee

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Park Avenue Elementary School, 58 Park Avenue, Webster

2:40PM – 3:10PM in WORCESTER

Congressman McGovern; Donna Lombardi (Worcester Public Schools Director of Nutrition); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Director of Advocacy); Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council); and Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs)

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Burncoat Preparatory School Playground, 526 Burncoat Street, Worcester

3:25PM – 4:00PM in WORCESTER

WHO: Congressman McGovern; Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Advocacy Director); and Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council)

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Girls Inc., 125 Providence Street, Worcester

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Jim works closely with REC. REC FARMERS MARKETS and REC Mobile Farmers Market blue van ACCEPT SNAP, WIC … ALL families can eat well! Times and places:
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Rec mobile farmers market blue van! pic: R.T.

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Congressman McGovern Praises Massachusetts Efforts to Tackle Food Waste, Calls for More Action at Every Level  

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Soup’s on! pic:R.T.

America Spends $218 Billion Every Year on Food That Is Never Eaten
 
Reducing Food Waste Is Key to Helping 50 million Americans Struggling with Hunger

Today Congressman Jim McGovern spoke on the House Floor to raise awareness about food waste in the U.S. and to praise efforts in Massachusetts and across the country to reduce food waste and help the 50 million Americans – including 16 million children – who struggle with hunger every year.  
 
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten,” Congressman McGovern said. “Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
 
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures,” McGovern added. “We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits.  We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
 
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste,” McGovern concluded. “I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.” 
 
In today’s speech today, Congressman McGovern recognized Massachusetts leaders and organizations like the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for helping to reduce food waste as part of the larger push to tackle hunger. McGovern also thanked Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their work with the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network to provide hunger relief in their local communities through campus food recovery initiatives.
  
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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:
 

“Thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C. this week for “Feeding the 5000” – an event designed to bring awareness to the issue of food waste. 
 
“Participants will be served a communal meal made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been discarded – in other words, wasted. 
 
“Since 2009, Feedback, a global environmental organization working to end food waste, has hosted dozens of “Feeding the 5000” events in cities across the globe. 
 
“I’m pleased to see so many local partners – including government agencies, charitable organizations, NGOs, industry, and chefs – joining together to call attention to food waste. 
 
“Because the truth of the matter is, we’ll need all of these partners working together to solve the issue of food waste.
 
“Last year, the USDA announced their first-ever food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. USDA is working with charitable organizations, faith-based groups, and the private sector and I believe this goal is 100 percent achievable.
 
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. 
 
“Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten.  Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. 
 
“This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
 
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures. 
 
“We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits.  We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
 
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste. 
 
“Just last week I attended a screening of the documentary film, Just Eat It at Amherst Cinema, organized by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Just Eat It follows a couple, Jen and Grant, as they stop going to the grocery store and live solely off of foods that would have been thrown away. Jen and Grant were able to find an abundance of perfectly safe and healthy food available for consumption that would have been thrown away.
 
“It’s exciting to see new partnerships forming to study food waste and find ways to use this perfectly good food to reduce hunger in our communities. 
 
“One such private-public collaboration, ReFED, has brought together over 30 business, government, and NGO leaders committed to wide-scale solutions to U.S. food waste. 
 
“In March, 2016, ReFED released a Roadmap that charts the course for a 20 percent reduction of food waste within a decade. 
 
“The Roadmap calls for farmers to reduce unharvested food and create secondary markets for imperfect produce.  It calls on manufacturers to reduce inefficiencies, make packaging adjustments, and standardize date labeling.  It calls on food service companies to further implement waste tracking and incorporate imperfect produce and smaller plates into restaurants.  And it urges the federal government to strengthen tax incentives for food donation and consider standardized date labeling legislation.   
 
“The good news is that many in the industry are already taking steps to dramatically cut down on wasted food by implementing robust donation programs. 
 
“For example, Starbucks recently announced it will soon scale up its successful food donation pilot program nationwide. In partnership with the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, Starbucks will donate unsold food from more than 7,000 company-operated stores –salads, sandwiches, and other refrigerated items – to the Feeding America food bank network. By 2021, that amounts to almost 50 million meals.
 
“Our college campuses are also stepping up. Both the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network work with college dining facilities and students to provide hunger relief in their local communities. In my congressional district, Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute all have campus food recovery initiatives.
 
“Over the past 35 years, Feeding America has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring food that would have otherwise been wasted makes its way to food banks across the country and into the homes of families in need. 
 
“There are dozens of other industry leaders also taking steps to reduce food waste by implementing manufacturing upgrades, maximizing harvests, and utilizing recycling initiatives.  
 
“I appreciate the efforts of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance in bringing together industry partners to reduce food waste, shrink the environmental footprint, and alleviate hunger in our communities. 
 
“Reducing food waste is one step we can take toward our goal of ending hunger in the United States and throughout the world. 
 
“I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”
 

Great learning opportunities! From Mass Farm to School Project

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From Mass Farm to School:

Greenfield Community College Offers Summer Courses in Sustainable Agriculture for Students and Teachers 

Greenfield Community College is offering summer courses for high school students and teachers in Organic Gardening, Intro. to Sustainable Farming Skills, and Developing Curriculum in Sustainable Food Production.

To learn more about the program for teachers, CLICK HERE! 

Raised Bed Workshop at Gore Place

May 21

In this workshop, long-time farmer Scott Clarke will demonstrate techniques for planting flowers and vegetables in a raised bed.

Learn how to lay out a square-foot garden, choose plants that are good companions, make use of vertical space, and plant directly into a bale of hay.

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Explore ways to develop the soil without the use of synthetic fertilizers so that your soil can feed the plants and vice versa.

Attendees will receive a coupon for the annual Spring Plant Sale on May 27-29.  $25 per person, $20 for Members.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets!

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Healthy Food Fuels Hungry Minds: A Stakeholder’s Conference for School Food

June 1

Harvard University, Cambridge

In this second stakeholders annual conference, join parents, providers, policy makers and advocates as we work together to understand the current climate of school food and develop collaborative ways to to champion and support change.

CLICK HERE for registration & Full Conference Agenda.

Healthy women eat right! Head to this FREE FEST at UMass Medical School!

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Join us for a day-long health and wellness event!

FREE!!!!

SATURDAY, JUNE 18

UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL

Plantation Street

8:30 AM — 4:00 PM

Keynote Speaker:

Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA
Physician, Community Health Leader, President & CEO, The Dimock Center

Opening and Closing Speaker:

Latoyia Edwards
Emmy Award-winning Morning News Anchor, New England Cable News (NECN)

Continental Breakfast

Free Health Screenings

Healthy Lunch

Health and Wellness Presentations

Healthy Movement Exercise

Celebrate You and Your Health Gift Bags

This event is FREE!

Registration is required.

Registration opens May 1

email: Multicultural@umassmed.edu for registration information

Free Childcare

Limited Space, Regstration Required

Free Shuttle Service and Free Parking

From Massachusetts Farm to School

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Dear Friends,

In this season of giving thanks, we have much to be thankful for at Mass. Farm to School. This season is also a time of transition, as farmers mark the end of the harvest season and look ahead to next year. Here at Mass. Farm to School we are also experiencing a time of transition.

After several months of strategic planning, this November we transitioned out of our host organization, Project Bread – The Walk for Hunger, and to a new host organization at Farm to Institution New England (FINE), with fiscal sponsor Third Sector New England. We are very excited to work with FINE staff and partners to strengthen farm to school programs in Massachusetts and to connect with broader farm to institution efforts across New England.

While you, our partners and supporters, will likely notice few changes in our programs or staff, we thought it was meaningful to announce this transition and, very importantly, to give thanks for the skilled and generous sponsorship that Project Bread has offered since 2013. Over the past two years, Project Bread helped us strengthen our organizational capacity and enabled us to develop strong programmatic partnerships with their wonderful initiatives, including the Chefs In Schools program and the Child Nutrition Outreach Program.

We look forward to continuing these partnerships in the years to come. We also want to thank all of you who took part in the planning process which helped us arrive at this transition. We look forward to your continued involvement and the contributions of many other partners as we work to build out a robust Massachusetts Farm to School Network.

We are very thankful that we are now well positioned to make great strides in achieving our organizational goals — to see a thriving local food system in Massachusetts in which all have access to healthy, locally grown food, and local foods procurement and food and agriculture education are ingrained in the fabric of our schools.

We would like to once again thank Project Bread and to thank each of you for your dedication to growing the farm to school movement in Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Simca Horwitz & Lisa Damon

Mass. Farm to School Program Directors

Congressman Jim McGovern named a Children’s Champion (Go, Jim, go!!!)

The First Focus Campaign for Children, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy group, recognized today U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark and Jim McGovern for their leadership on issues important to the health and well-being of children during 2015.
 
“Lots of politicians talk about kids’ issues, but few back it up,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. “Congresswoman Clark and Congressman McGovern delivered for kids.”
                                   In selecting Champions, the First Focus Campaign for Children noted leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation to meet children’s needs.

In addition, the organization considered Members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.
 
The advocacy organization recognized as “Champions for Children” 50 Members of Congress for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation.

An additional 50 Members were recognized as “Defenders of Children” for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children. The 2015 Champions and Defenders are:
 
2015 Champions for Children
 
Senate
 
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
 
House
 
Karen Bass (D-CA)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
David Cicilline (D-RI)
Katherine Clark (D-MA)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Ted Deutch (D-FL)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)
Richard Hanna (R-NY)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Ann Kuster (D-NH)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)      
Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
 
2015 Defenders of Children
 
Senate
 
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Dean Heller (R-NV)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
 
House
 
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)
John Conyers (D-MI)
Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Susan Davis (D-CA)
Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Bob Dold (R-IL)
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Sandy Levin (D-MI)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)
Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Juan Vargas (D-CA)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
John Yarmuth (D-KY)
                                                  
This is the Campaign for Children’s sixth annual class of Champions for Children. For more information about past honorees, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.
 
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.