Volunteers serve up Thanksgiving dinner on Monday at the Berkshire Food Project.

Berkshire Food Project Serves Up Thanksgiving Dinner

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
05:50AM / Tuesday, November 21, 2023

First Congregational Church of Williamstown donated 60 pies. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It was Thanksgiving on Monday at the Berkshire Food Project. 
The free lunch program has for three decades made a point of ensuring anyone can get a turkey dinner with all trimmings — albeit a few days before the holiday. 
"It's wonderful," said Arnold Hynes, sitting with friends in the dining room at First Congregational Church. "We're regulars here at every meal. It's really wonderful."
His friend Jim said it was "the first time I've had Thanksgiving in 2 1/2 years, I truly appreciate it." He's had a tough few years after a serious fall working construction left him with a lot of medical issues and a failed marriage. 
Still, Jim was hoping to pay back the project somehow and wasn't looking for more because "I don't want to take away from anybody else."
But there was plenty to go around on Monday: More than 320 pounds of turkey, 150 pounds of potatoes, 225 cups of stuffing and more than 60 pies from First Congregational Church in Williamstown were served up, along with some mini pies from Many Forks Farm. 
"Today is really kind of our largest event of the year and this weekend, and today, we've had over 60 volunteers come through," said Executive Director Stephanie Bosley. "And so just seeing the magnitude of generosity that's in our community that people have donated their time, they've donated supplies to us."
Casita, the new Mexican eatery on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus, took over the turkey duties, organizing with restaurants around the area to cook up the birds and then delivered and prepared them in the morning. 
The turkeys were donated or purchased with monetary donations, which was a big help for the nonprofit. The potatoes came from Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. 
"Every person that walks through our doors gets a meal, and today is no exception," Bosley said. "So if we run out, we'll just go buy some more from the store and we'll prepare it quickly."
She took over as director in September, and has a some familiarity with food production, noting her mother's been in food service her whole career. 
"But this is different than anything that I've done before and I really am enjoying my time here," she said. 
The Thanksgiving meal was started by longtime former director Valerie Schwarz and Bosley said it's now a tradition.
"We live in such a great community. And I love the sense of community here at Berkshire Food Project, having the ability to share a meal with our neighbors," she said. "You know, I usually try to grab something and sit down with folks. And it's just, it's been great."
The dining room was busy at the 11 a.m. seating; a second was set for 4 to 6 p.m. A number of volunteers including Mayor Jennifer Macksey were on the serving line. 
Helena Romana came in as a volunteer a couple years ago and soon became the dining room manager and kitchen assistant. 
"I've always had a thing for helping the community," she said. "I thank my grandmother for that, she instilled that value. I used to live right across the street and I just started volunteering and a month later they hired me."
The project serves lunch three times a week but will be closed this Friday; but diners will get something to take home on Wednesday to tide them over. 
And everyone on Monday was given a bag of nonperishable items donated by MountainOne. 
 "We realized that maybe some of the food access points that people regularly visit will have holiday hours," said Bosley. "So I want to make sure that people had enough until Monday when we reopen." 


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