FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO MAKE ITS RACHEL’S TABLE PROGRAM A SEPARATE
Food rescue program expects to finalize transition to become separate nonprofit organization this summer
SPRINGFIELD, MA February 16, 2023– The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, the leading Jewish organization in Western Massachusetts, announced today that Rachel’s Table, its signature food rescue program, will become a stand-alone non-profit organization. The decision was formally made by a recent Federation Board of Trustees vote that authorized Rachel’s Table to set plans in motion to become independent this summer.
“The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts is proud of Rachel’s Table’s achievements and is excited to see Rachel’s Table come into its own as a nonprofit organization,” said Nora Gorenstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “Over the past thirty years, we have proudly seen Rachel’s Table grow and evolve in ways we never imagined. Therefore, we felt this transition was the next natural step for Rachel’s Table.”
This announcement will be the start of a new, positive impact for both Federation and Rachel’s Table and allow them to better serve the Western Massachusetts community. For Rachel’s Table, this new independence will allow it to have full fiscal, operational, and programmatic control to further expand its reach in Western Massachusetts. In Federation’s case, this decision will allow it to grow, nurture, and expand new programming such as Ride to Provide, a bike ride fundraiser; and Dignity Grows, which provides individuals in need with essential personal hygiene products so they can participate in community life without interruption.
“After several months of conversations and planning, we are eager and excited to officially start the transition to become a separate nonprofit,” said Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table. “We are thankful for having a unique relationship for the past thirty years with Federation, which allowed Rachel’s Table to grow, evolve, and fully engage the community in Western Massachusetts.”
Rachel’s Table’s transition is already in full swing. Federation and Rachel’s Table have an action plan in place and have hired additional temporary support to ensure the successful transition of Rachel’s Table to a separate non-profit entity by this summer. During this period, Rachel’s Table will continue to work out of and receive full operational support from Federation. All daily operations for Rachel’s Table will continue without disruption, while others will grow, such as the delivery of a larger quantity of perishable items via the new refrigerated van.
Since 1992, Rachel’s Table has been filling a large gap in hunger alleviation for a wide and diverse community in Western Massachusetts, including the local kosher food-insecure community. While food banks have been around since the 1960’s, the idea of rescuing food was a novel one, and one that Rachel’s Table’s founders thought was critically needed. Since then, Rachel’s Table’s mission, which is rooted deeply in Jewish values while serving with and for all, has remained strong with its daily recommitment to food justice and holistic vision of food security through its multigenerational group of volunteers. Rachel’s Table now serves three counties, and rescues and purchases a larger and healthier variety of food. It has also created community-engagement initiatives such as Bea’s Harvest to raise awareness and glean food, Growing Gardens to help agencies serving the food insecure grow their own food, and a refrigerated van to transport even more food throughout Western Massachusetts. Recently, Rachel’s Table received a three-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of over $300,000. This grant will support further growth of existing Rachel’s Table’s initiatives and help explore economic incentives for farmers and employment pathways for people impacted by food insecurity.
About The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts
Grounded in the values of justice, repairing the world, and Jewish unity, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts connects individuals to a community that pursues social justice, fights hunger and poverty, rescues and resettles people in danger, and strengthens Jewish life. Through a network of agencies, synagogues, organizations, professionals and volunteers, as well as its community building and fundraising efforts, the Federation offers life-long enriching Jewish experiences for people of all ages and creates a vibrant Jewish life in Western Massachusetts, Israel, and around the globe. To learn more about the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts visit https://jewishwesternmass.org/.
About Rachel’s Table
Rachel’s Table is a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1992, Rachel’s Table has worked tirelessly to alleviate hunger and reduce the waste of food resources in Western Massachusetts. Six days a week more than 200 volunteers collect food from over 60 donors such as local supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, farms, and bakeries, and deliver it to over 60 agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. Rachel’s Table is also a catalyst for community activism through programs that raise awareness about food justice, including its Teen Board program, where youth leaders educate themselves and others about food insecurity as they advocate for change. Over the years, it has created special projects focusing on healthy nutrition and education such as Bea’s Harvest gleaning initiative, and Growing Gardens, which supports any RT-affiliated agencies to grow their own food for direct access to self-determined, healthy and culturally appropriate food. For more information on how to volunteer or donate visit www.rachelstablepv.org.