Stone Soup Cafe marks 10-year anniversary in Greenfield on Sunday

  • Kirsten Levitt, executive director of Stone Soup Cafe, pictured in April. The weekly pay-what-you-can meal program runs out of All Souls Church in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2022 7:17:35 PM
Modified: 6/8/2022 7:15:27 PM

GREENFIELD — Since Stone Soup Cafe’s move to Greenfield 10 years ago, Kirsten Levitt has watched as a community has grown and continued to step up for one another.

“It’s overwhelmingly satisfying to know we serve a purpose beyond providing emergency meals,” said Levitt, executive director of the weekly pay-what-you-can meal program. “We are creating a community space where people from all walks of life can come together for nourishment of body, mind and spirit.”

The Stone Soup Cafe, which has served community meals from All Souls Church on Main Street since 2012, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. on the Greenfield Common.

“It’s almost unfathomable,” Levitt said of the 10-year milestone.

Sunday’s celebration will feature an interactive mural designed by Emily Roman, juggling, hula hooping, face painting, games and pizza. Local disc jockey Robert “Bobby C” Campbell will provide musical entertainment.

The cafe as it exists today grew from the “Let All Eat Cafe” that began in Montague in 2010, according to the nonprofit. Two years later, in need of a more central location, the cafe moved to its current site in Greenfield.

“Stone Soup Cafe started as a sit-down meal for 20 to 25 people,” Levitt said. “Now it’s a curbside pickup and delivery program that has a free store that serves 70 to 80 families every Saturday.”

In one form or another, she noted, the nonprofit serves more than 500 meals each week.

Echoing the words of Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, Levitt said the cafe exists as an “essential link” in the food security infrastructure.

“That’s not just because we have 10 years under our belt,” she said. “It’s because we listen to our community. It’s because people show up and volunteer. It’s because we have fantastic supporters that don’t just give their time and talent, but also their treasure — their monetary donation.”

Over the years, the cafe has grown to run book groups, online discussion groups and film festivals. A nearly all-volunteer model has shifted to include 10 part-time employees in addition to volunteers. Most recently, the cafe launched the Culinary Arts Institute, a 12-week program during which students will receive training and practice in the fundamentals of cooking, along with safe handling and serving of food and beverages.

Levitt said in 10 years on Main Street, she can recall numerous stories demonstrating the impact the cafe has had on the lives of those it serves. She recalled one phrase in particular she has heard over and over again: “This place saved me.”

“I’m really humbled by the fact that it’s been 10 years of my “heart” work — hard work — and that people still come,” she said, “and want to work alongside us and collaborate with us and be part of this community.”

Looking forward, Levitt plans to continue working and collaborating with other social justice and food justice organizations.

“One thing that’s going to happen this summer is Just Roots is going to partner with Stone Soup, and we’re going to have opportunities for people who want to volunteer on the farm on a Saturday morning,” she said. “The cafe will send meals to the farm crew there, so they can break bread together at the picnic tables around Just Roots.”

The cafe, Levitt emphasized, will continue to stand up for social justice and dismantling white supremacist culture, institutionalized racism, militarism and language that “others” people.

“The ‘right now’ vision is keeping this program going in a way that is sustainable, and looking at the future and what the community is asking for us, and figuring out ways to make that happen with their help,” she said.

The long-term goal, Levitt said, is to find a new space for the cafe to call home.

“Our goal is to have a new home where all of our guests can come and sit down again, because our current operation occupies all of the space that we’re in,” she said. “We need a place where the community can come back together.”

Stone Soup Cafe is accepting “birthday” donations online at Donations directly support the cafe’s community meals, programs and events. As of Wednesday afternoon, $4,225 had been raised.

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


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