Published: 9/24/2021 10:00:04 AM
GREENFIELD — Gagne Wealth Management Group teamed up with Rachel’s Table, the 30-year-old food rescue program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, to deliver 3,510 pounds of frozen food to Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden county agencies on Thursday.
Volunteers with Rachel’s Table used a rented Ryder truck to bring boxes of grub to the Salvation Army, Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance, and Stone Soup in Greenfield, the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Northampton Survival Center and Amherst Survival Center. Jodi Falk, executive director of Rachel’s Table, explained the food donation is the result of a surplus at C&S Wholesale Grocers in Westfield.
“The story here was that the thought was that people would be buying more, and they haven’t. People are taking their time to get back to … purchasing food,” she explained. “And we never let surplus go to waste.”
Boxes contained Stouffer’s lasagnas. Falk said boxes of cauliflower-crust pizza were also being taken to Springfield.
Members of the Greenfield-based Gagne Wealth Management Group helped volunteer delivery drivers Steven Lepow and Arturo Cain unload cardboard boxes and bring 30 of them inside the Salvation Army. Other cases were loaded into vehicles owned by members of the wealth management group for delivery to different locations.
Gagne Wealth Management Group owner Merrill Gagne said 20 cases were going to Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance at 156 Main St., two were headed to Stone Soup Cafe at All Souls Church, and 12 were destined for the Franklin County Community Development Corporation at 324 Wells St. Other cases were being taken to the Amherst and Northampton survival centers as well as to Springfield.
Gagne was assisted by his wife, Jenn, and employees Steve Colby and Dave Donoghue. The Gagnes’ 5-year-old daughter, Annabella, also tagged along.
“(Falk) reached out and I was happy to be able to lend a hand and have everyone come,” Merrill Gagne said before hitting the road to make deliveries. “Our group is really all about Franklin County and helping. So we always are looking for opportunities to be able to help anyone and do everything to be able to make it so that way it’s a better place for everyone.
“It’s been a hard time for everyone for the last couple of years,” he continued. “So if there’s anything we can do to be able to pitch in, we’re happy to do that.”
Rachel’s Table has delivered between 70,000 to 140,000 pounds of food per month to more than 53 agencies in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone interested in driving for Rachel’s Table, or who knows of food from a local restaurant, bakery or grocery store that is going to waste, can visit rachelstablepv.org for more information.