Breaking bread together

  • People are served homemade Thanksgiving dinner at the Stone Soup Cafe on Thursday in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Children and their families were invited to make Thanksgiving-themed crafts at the Stone Soup Cafe on Thursday. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Thanksgiving dinner at the Stone Soup Cafe on Thursday in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Melina Bourdeau

Staff writer
Published: 11/23/2018 6:55:29 AM

GREENFIELD – Thanksgiving traditionally is seen as a family event, and despite their different backgrounds and paths taken to the Stone Soup Cafe, scores of individuals and families formed a bond of community as they broke bread together Thursday.

The new president of Greenfield Community College, Yves Salomon-Fernández, and her family came to eat and volunteer at the community meal – her children helping by showing other children and their families how to make Thanksgiving themed crafts.

“This is a new family tradition – to come volunteer. I was invited by a student, Pete Pavoni, to come volunteer,” Salomon-Fernández explained during the meal held at All Souls Unitarian Church. “This is such a wonderful community and a time of giving gratitude and sharing fellowship with one another.”

On Thursday, the United Arc partnered with Stone Soup Cafe to host the inclusive community Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 3 p.m. By 1 p.m. the cafe had fed about 120 people.

Cafe manager of the Stone Soup Kitchen, Patricia Kain of Turners Falls, said “We have the love of the community in creating food and eating together, breaking bread together … I find that amazing. Some people pay, but when people walk in, they’re all equal.”

Another volunteer, Pete Pavone of Greenfield, said he’s been volunteering for the cafe for about a year now, and he finds it “very rewarding.”

“This community is like a family,” Pavone said. “When we come in, it’s like a different world; you leave your problems outside. We’re just people all under the same roof.”

The two community organizations collaborated for a third year to produce an inclusive community meal at Stone Soup’s family-friendly pay-what-you-can cafe.

Individuals and families from all walks of life and abilities were encouraged to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal side by side as well as make and enjoy holiday themed crafts for children.

Kristina Tams of the United Arc said the dinner fulfills the mission of the Arc – “to support people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving the universal goals of inclusion, choice and independence.”

“This event allows for individuals to be a part of their community have access to a happy inclusive place,” Tam said. “For us to be able to collaborate with the cafe and embrace so many people in the community is great.”

More than 50 volunteers helped to make food, prepare tables and clean up after the dinner was done.

Executive chef of the Stone Soup Cafe, Kirsten Levitt, brought her family with her to volunteer their time.

“My family is part of this serving the community and even some extended family has come in the past,” Levitt said. “Thanksgiving is a very social holiday, and we want to make sure everyone is welcome and has a space where they can be safe.”

One family in attendance, Eric Wasileski and his mother Susan Maher of Greenfield, said he enjoys coming to the Stone Soup Cafe regularly.

“It’s great. Sometimes it’s the best meal I have all week,” Wasileski said. “It’s nice to have dinner together and and support the mission of the Stone Soup Cafe. Plus it’s easier than making dinner at home.”


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