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Neighbor to Neighbor project seeks to fill voids made by health crisis

  • The produce section at Green Fields Market, operated by the Franklin Community Co-op. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2020 2:46:18 PM

GREENFIELD — Filling a void caused by the evolving COVID-19 health crisis, the Franklin Community Co-op and Greening Greenfield are collaborating to create Neighbor to Neighbor, a project to get food and other essential items to people who are unable to leave their homes.

The project was created recently from an outpouring of support from those in the community through a new grant announced Tuesday in response to the health crisis from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.

“As early as last week, our members started asking how they might help others,” said Sarah Kanabay, outreach and communications manager of the Franklin Community Co-op, a regional organization that operates Green Fields Market in Greenfield and McCusker’s Market in Shelburne Falls. Kanabay noted the co-op has “a very active volunteer community” and, after putting out a call for volunteers, they were “overwhelmed by the willingness of people to help out. As a community-owned store, this sort of care and cooperation are at the heart of our values as an organization.”

To that end, the Neighbor to Neighbor project will not only deliver food to people who are unable to leave their homes, but it will also mobilize volunteers to provide rides to medical appointments, walk dogs, pick up children’s school lunches from school sites and other odd-jobs as the need arises.

The response to the emerging COVID-19 outbreak “involves the survival of our communities as well as support of the environment,” said Susan Worgaftik, of Greening Greenfield, which is “a group of concerned citizens working with residents, businesses and town government to build a more resilient and sustainable Greenfield,” according to the group’s website.

“The nature of COVID-19 requires that a lot of different folks are going to be home and unable to do basic things like shopping,” Worgaftik said about the Neighbor to Neighbor project. “Although this project is aimed at people with health concerns that prevent them from going out, we know that parents with children at home from school will find it difficult to get to a grocery store or to access some other service. We wanted to make this service available to everyone.”

The ultimate mission of the project is to “to keep everyone as healthy as possible,” Kanabay said.

For more information about Neighbor to Neighbor and how to connect with the service or help out, email Kanabay at sarah.kanabay@franklincommunity.coop or call 413-325-4625.

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 276.

Greenfield Recorder

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