Regional Notebook: June 28, 2022

Published: 6/27/2022 3:51:26 PM
Jewish Federation, Rachel’s Table donate $5K in food cards for refugees

SPRINGFIELD — The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and its Rachel’s Table program donated $5,000 worth of food cards to the Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts to support the organization’s New American Refugee Settlement Program. This is the second such donation to the Jewish Family Service in the past six months for a total of $11,000.

These gift cards have benefited more than 100 families who were or are still awaiting full refugee status and support, according to a Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts press release. The gift cards were purchased from the Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund, which was originally created by the federation to meet the immediate needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently expanded to help fill food gaps for local organizations in the Pioneer Valley.

“Giving food to those in need is at the root of everything that Rachel’s Table does,” Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table, said in the press release. “These two donations of gift cards from our Emergency Food Fund came at a time when many groups fleeing their countries of origin, such as the Afghanis and Ukrainians, did not yet have refugee status and were not yet getting other services that would provide help for food.”

4 local students make Bridgewater Dean’s List

Four Franklin County and North Quabbin students were named to the Dean’s List at Bridgewater State University for the spring semester.

They are: Hunter K. Bond and Evelyn M. Olson of Phillipston; Taiya N. Anaya of Shutesbury; and Ben J. Hamer of South Deerfield.

Foundation awards $80K to 20 artists

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has awarded 20 local artists — including three from Franklin County — a combined $80,000 from its new ValleyCreates initiative program, Project Evolution. This arts and culture investment is designed to aid past ValleyCreates Working Capital grantees in their successful completion of forthcoming arts projects.

The three Franklin County recipients are Robert Markey of Ashfield, Kurt Meyer of Shelburne Falls and Samuel Perry of Turners Falls.

Supported in partnership with the Barr Foundation, the Project Evolution grant program combines monetary support with professional development and learning opportunities. According to a Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts press release, each artist will receive a $4,000 grant, free participation in workshops, and one-on-one sessions with renowned coaches and trainers.

“We’re so excited about this new grant opportunity that supports artists in all stages of their project development, from ideation, creation and through implementation. These grants will help 20 artists move their projects forward over the next year and get it to that next stage,” Program Officer Nicole Bourdon said in the release. “The grantees are writers, filmmakers, painters, photographers, crafters, musicians and performers, and their work is all timely and engages the community in meaningful ways.”

The artists selected were chosen from more than 60 artists that have received ValleyCreates Working Capital grants over the last two years.

“The generosity of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts last year truly changed my life. I saw that my work has value in this community and that I had so much to give back,” Perry said in the release. “I am so proud of what my collaborators and I were able to accomplish last year, and I know we have miles yet to go.”


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