Stone Soup Cafe to serve free meal along with Thanksgiving’s history

  • Kirsten Levitt, executive chef at the Stone Soup Cafe, is getting ready for a Thanksgiving meal in the lower level of All Souls Church in Greenfield.

  • Kirsten Levitt, executive chef at the Stone Soup Cafe, is getting ready for a Thanksgiving meal with Diemand Farm turkeys. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/23/2021 4:52:20 PM
Modified: 11/23/2021 4:52:04 PM

Volunteers at Stone Soup Cafe aim to acknowledge and remind others the often forgotten history of colonialism and atrocity tied to Thanksgiving Day, while also honoring the tradition of being grateful for the ability to come together and a share a meal.

“We acknowledge that in all things there is at least a duality of the beloved practices as well as their consequences,” said Kirsten Levitt, executive chef at Stone Soup Cafe at All Souls Church in downtown Greenfield. “And Thanksgiving happens to be one of them where there are major consequences for our Indigenous brethren.”

In recognition of that — and following conversations had with different local tribes and Wampanoag elders — Stone Soup has changed the name of its annual community meal to Thanks Giving.

The name change, she said, emphasizes the cafe’s mission to “create gratitude 52 weeks a year,” and the idea that “we need more giving thanks in the world, in general.”

“For the last six weeks, we have been posting information all over our social media accounts and on our website the story of Thanksgiving, acknowledging that Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for Indigenous people,” Levitt said. “And in solidarity with Indigenous people, we also are offering a feast because even at the day of mourning that will happen in Plymouth … everyone sits down and eats together.”

Last year, the cafe distributed via curbside pickup and delivery about 500 meals to individuals in Greenfield and the surrounding communities. The meal will be served in the same fashion on Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m., and community members are encouraged to RSVP online by Wednesday evening.

“We’ll make sure we have plenty of food, so even if people don’t RSVP, they can come curbside and pick up meals,” Levitt said.

She added that the cafe is “really blessed this year” to have food donated from local farms, including turkeys from Diemand Farm in Wendell, and apples and apple cider from Clarkdale Fruit Farms that will be offered while people pick up their meals. Local businesses and individuals also offered financial contributions to support the meal, including Katalyst Kombucha and disc jockey Robert “Bobby C” Campbell, who donated $700 toward the meal.

“The food is going to be delicious, and we’re going to be celebrating community,” Levitt said.

Other community meals

The Franklin County Community Meals Program will also host a Thanksgiving Day meal distribution this year — a first in recent history, according to Rachel Berggren, executive director.

“The volunteers and staff were really eager to serve the community on Thanksgiving because they felt that, especially on holidays, it’s important to make sure people have a warm meal and a community resource for people to depend on,” Berggren said.

The to-go meal, which will take place at the Trinitarian Congregational Church at 147 Main St. in Northfield, is scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday. This is the first year the Franklin County Community Meals Program has operated a meal site in Northfield, having started in September.

Registering in advance is encouraged but not required, and can be done by calling 334-663-6541. Members of the First Parish Unitarian Church are donating their time and pooling resources to make the meal possible.

“I think it’s really kudos to (the volunteers) that they’re willing to spend their day cooking for the community,” Berggren said. “By nature of them doing this work, it really is a donation to us and the community.”

And finally, Living Waters Assembly of God at 450 Davis St. in Greenfield will hold a free community Thanksgiving Day dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend.

For more information, call Pastor David Levandusky at 413-773-9506 or 413-774-4032.

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


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