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Stone Soup Café personifies the holiday spirit

  • A special musical accompaniment at the Stone Soup Cafe’s Christmas meal by Bram Moreinis on the piano and Rob Peck on the harmonica. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon

  • Longtime volunteers Roark Herron and Linda Slattery enjoy a Christmas Day meal at the Stone Soup Cafe, Monday afternoon. “It’s fantastic that people have a place for people to come on Christmas,” Herron said. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon



Recorder Staff
Monday, December 25, 2017

GREENFIELD — Waking up Monday morning, he was greeted by a white Christmas. As the snow continued to fall, Ralph Provost wasn’t much in the holiday spirit.

“I was starting to feel a little gloomy this morning,” Provost said. “But I got myself out and managed to come here.”

Here, at the Stone Soup Cafe at All Souls Church on Main and Hope streets, Provost was all smiles.

The cafe was serving a Christmas Day meal to all in the community, with dozens gathering Monday afternoon for a meal featuring sweet chili pork roast, roast turkey in gravy, with black bean and corn stew.

As volunteers Roark Herron and Linda Slattery took a moment to eat, they reflected on the value of a meal like this in town.

“It’s fantastic that people have a place for people to come on Christmas,” Herron said. “You have music, it’s snowing outside ...”

“ ... it’s perfect,” Slattery said, finishing Herron’s thought.

Although the cafe typically serves meals on Saturdays at noon, Executive Director and Chef Kirsten Levitt had her kitchen up and running for the holiday.

“When you think about all the things you can buy for people, there’s nothing that replaces good food and conversation, and knowing a place where people can come together,” Levitt said. “That’s really what we’re trying to create here.”

Since Thanksgiving, Levitt and the cafe have served eight meals to the community. The meals are pay-what-you-can and are primarily volunteer-run. On Christmas, plenty of hands helped out, from back in the kitchen to serving up the food to the setup work of Russ Lilly.

“I love this place. It’s got a great mission statement. Great community. Great people,” Lilly said, who started volunteering at the cafe almost two years ago. “It doesn’t feel like work when I’m here.”

Lilly noted that one of his favorite parts of the cafe is how easily people connect with each other.

“It’s more of a community,” Lilly said. “People come here because of the great atmosphere. We get a lot of regulars but we also get a lot of stragglers. But the stragglers come back because it’s very friendly. Everyone talks.”

For Monday’s special meal, Lilly brought out a piano upon the request of a patron. So while people celebrated the good food, they were accompanied by musical numbers.

“I can leave here with a smile and I’ll have Christmas music in my mind,” Provost said.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264