Franklin County Community Meals Program seeks new executive director

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 01-11-2023 2:14 PM

As Executive Director Rachel Berggren prepares for her exit, the Franklin County Community Meals Program is actively searching for someone to fill her shoes.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone to come and learn about getting their hands dirty in the community,” said Berggren. “We’re really looking for someone who is passionate about community-driven work.”

Berggren joined the meals program in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after earning a master’s degree in sustainable food systems. She replaced Andrea Leibson, who served as executive director for more than four years.

“I’m really passionate about equity and justice,” she said. “This is the exact kind of work I wanted to be doing.”

After an “intense” introduction to the nonprofit, Berggren said she helped “transform the organization” to serve the community best.

“I’m really proud of us expanding our programs to ensure food access,” she recalled. “We’ve piloted a home delivery model out of our Orange pantry and established various pop-up pantries to serve the community.”

The Franklin County Community Meals Program regularly operates meals sites in Greenfield, Turners Falls, Orange and Northfield, as well as a food pantry in Orange.

In addition to expanding food access, Berggren said she’s proud of the work she has done over the last three years to increase the number of business donors. In particular, the meals program launched the Community Sponsor Program last year. Greenfield Savings Bank was the first local business to partake, and several others have since followed suit.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Two firms eye First National Bank in Greenfield for reuse
Invasive species mile-a-minute vine found again in Buckland
Alleged hit-and-run crash in Greenfield sends one to hospital
My Turn: Biden’s record and accomplishments are extremely positive
Franklin County transitions to new interoperable radio system
‘No one like him’: Family, friends remember late historian at ice cream social in his honor

“Our motto is ‘neighbors feeding neighbors’ and truly the staff, volunteers and community that rallied to support each other during the pandemic and beyond has been something I will never forget,” she said. “In a time of crisis, this organization proved to me and to many what is possible when we come together and pool resources. That’s what grassroots nonprofits are all about and that’s truly been the heart of (the meals program) since it was founded in 1984. To this day, the people who come and get meals don’t just pick up for themselves, but take several meals to their neighbors and friends who they know need it. It’s a network of support and I’ve been privileged to help coordinate that network.”

In a rural area like Franklin County, Berggren said, addressing food insecurity requires community support.

“There are so many different needs,” she said. “There are transportation challenges, and being one of the poorest counties in the state, garnering resources is a challenge. What’s really inspiring about Franklin County is it’s so grassroots and everyone does come together to support each other.”

As she considers what’s next for her, Berggren said she’s “eager” to pass on the opportunity to lead the Franklin County Community Meals Program.

According to the job description, responsibilities include applying for grants, fundraising, budget management, staff supervision, event planning, community outreach and board of directors relations. Successful candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and five years of closely related professional experience, including but not limited to non-profit administration, management or development roles.

“It’s a really great moment in our history to have someone come on and steward an organization that has already been integrated into the community in the last 40 years,” she said.

To apply, submit a resume and cover letter to info@fccmp.org or mail those materials to the Franklin County Community Meals Program, P.O. Box 172, Greenfield, MA 01302. Submissions will be accepted until the position is filled. To view the full job description, visit fccmp.org/job-opportunities.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

]]>