Northborough Community Meals program needs funding to continue

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

NJWC members Amy Walton and member Ruth Reeve packing meals for the Northborough Community Meals program.
NJWC members Amy Walton and member Ruth Reeve packing meals.

Northborough – Trinity Church located at 23 Main Street, has long been the host of the Wednesday evening Community Meals. In June, the program adapted to the pandemic restrictions and meals are now available via curbside pickup. Donations and the collaboration of volunteers and local restaurants have made this possible. The funding, however, to continue to serve 120 people each week is running low.

Northboro Junior Woman’s Club (NJWC), Northborough Food Pantry, Northborough Helping Hands Association Inc. (NHHA), Community Meals and Northborough Family and Youth Service have made it possible to serve the community through this coordinated effort. These organizations are committed to helping families in need and addressing food insecurity.

 

An increase in need

NJWC Co-President Martha Michalewich said the first week of curbside pickup had 40 meals. There are now 120 people served each week. The need increases the longer the pandemic impacts are felt.

The generosity of time and funding for the past 8 months has been appreciated.

“People have been magnificent,” she said. “People do like this program and want to help and have the opportunity to give back.”

Meals are served every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 pm from the Trinity Church parking lot. Waters and desserts are donated each week. It takes 4-5 volunteers to set up, assemble the meal bag and deliver it to the cars as they drive up. The entrée is made possible through partnerships with local restaurants, who provide a to-go meal for $5 each. 

“For 120 meals, that’s $600 a week,” said Michalewich. “We depend on donations to keep that going.”

She estimated that funding may run out by the end of March.

State Representative Danielle Gregoire, NJWC Co-President Martha Michalewich, Northborough Food Pantry Co-Director Vicki Killeen, State Representative Meg Kilcoyne and State Senator Jamie Eldridge.
State Representative Danielle Gregoire, NJWC Co-President Martha Michalewich, Northborough Food Pantry Co-Director Vicki Killeen, State Representative Meg Kilcoyne and State Senator Jamie Eldridge.

Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton)  and Massachusetts State Representatives Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and Meg Kilcoyne (D-Clinton) were impressed with the operation when they visited on Jan. 20.

“This is an example of how communities step up and help people with food insecurities,” said Eldridge.

 

Support from other businesses 

Michalewich said food establishments, many which have struggled themselves during the pandemic, have been great partners. They have said that Northborough is their community too and want to do what they can do to help.

Businesses who rotate and coordinate meals for the program include MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, Northboro House of Pizza, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Culinary students, Monti’s Pizza, Kate’s Catering, Lowes Meat and Variety, Sir Loin’s Catering, Hillside Grill, Davidian’s Farm, Pickle Haus Deli and Wegmans; as well as Stevie’s Back Road Cafe and Catering in Hudson, Subway Marlborough West and Buffet Way in Marlborough.

Kilcoyne has also seen “a lot of communities come together to help others in need during the pandemic.” She said that there are a lot of issues to tackle, and would like to see how together long term solutions can be made.

So far the weather has cooperated on Wednesday nights without any storms. 

“We are hoping to do this until it is safe to go back inside to do the regular Community Meals,” said Michalewich. “We hope to continue as long as needed.”

To donate to Community Meals, mail a check to NHHA, P.O. Box 383, Northborough, MA 01532 with “community meals” in the memo line. Online donations can be made on the Northborough Helping Hands website  at the Donate link.

Photos/Liz Nolan

 

 

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