Foodraiser provides items to three area programs, including Franklin County Community Meals Program

  • Rachel’s Table Associate Director Sarah Maniaci (left) and Executive Director Jodi Falk worked with teens to collect food for the agency’s Foodraiser, which is providing 7,353 items for three organizations, including the Franklin County Community Meals Program. Contributed Photo/ANDREA BUGBEE

Staff Writer
Published: 12/28/2020 3:04:26 PM

One hundred and sixty-six teens recently participated in Rachel’s Table’s Foodraiser, a shopping competition for individuals and youth teams to feed the hungry, and some of what they collected is going to the Franklin County Community Meals Program.

It was all part of a friendly competition to fill the shelves not only of the local program, but of the Amherst Survival Center and Providence Ministries in Holyoke.

“The youth ranged in ages from 11 to 18, and they were instructed to ‘purchase’ the most amount of nutritious items on a budget,” said Jodi Falk, executive director of Rachel’s Table, a program of the Springfield-based Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts that works to alleviate hunger and reduce food waste.

“All of the food will be shipped to the three locations,” Falk said.

All 29 teams shopped online together on a Zoom call that was also streamed on YouTube using a new virtual product donation platform called OneDeeds, which started as a small social impact project in 2018.

“Partnering with Rachel’s Table, OneDeeds provides an easy way to donate food to agencies serving the hungry and homeless,” Falk said. “In an hour of fun competition, the teens purchased 7,353 items for the three agencies.”

Items purchased during both the teen event and the one for individuals the week before gave a grand total of 9,185 items donated by 191 participants.

“The Foodraiser went virtual because of the pandemic, but because of the pandemic, more people need food,” Falk said. “More than 50 million Americans are now food insecure because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that includes one in four children.”

Falk said even though times are more challenging than ever, she’s happy to see people are more than willing to help others. She said one of the teen groups happened to be celebrating a birthday on Dec. 20, the day they participated in the Foodraiser.

“What a great way to celebrate a life — by making other lives easier,” she said.

For more information, visit rachelstablepv.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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