March Volunteer News!

>> Volunteer shifts are up on Track-it-Forward for the month of April! Sign up early, and often!

>> Don't forget to RSVP for a meal if you want to take one home after you volunteer on a Saturday. It's an easy link to remember (and it never changes) --

>> Get ready to switch back to the summer Café set-up! Starting in April, we'll be shifting more of our operations back outdoors. The warm weather is finally here to stay!

>> Fun Food Safety Tip! As things heat up, wearing tank-tops during food prep might be very tempting, but alas, they don't meet the FDA food safety requirements. We ask that everyone wear sleeved shirts (even if they're short sleeves!). Looking for a go-to Café tee? We have super cute free volunteer t-shirts for anyone who would like one. Just ask!

Community Happenings!

Things are happening in April!

//April 1// Stone Soup volunteer, Marjorie Morgan, has organized an art show called “Nothing Stable Under Heaven; A Showcase of Black Art" which opens April 1 at the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton! The reception is Saturday, April 10, 2021, 3-6pm. Artists include Stone Soup Board Member Gloria Matlock!

//April 9// Stone Soup is co-sponsoring a film screening of "Dope is Death" with Wildflower Alliance, The People's Medicine Project, and Recover Project. "Dope Is Death" is “the story of how Dr. Mutulu Shakur, along with fellow Black Panthers and the Young Lords, combined community health with radical politics to create the first acupuncture detoxification program in America. Watch the film with us and join us for a discussion:

//April 11// Save the date! - An evening panel discussion on race, hosted by some beloved POC community members from the Greenfield community. More details forthcoming! Stay tuned!

//April 13// The discussion of "Mutual Aid" by Dean Spade continues! Join us from 6:30-8pm to talk specifically about the first few chapters of the book (Chapters 1-4). Themes will include: What is Mutual Aid?, Solidarity Not Charity, Dangers and Pitfalls. If you've read the chapters and want to join in, RSVP here:

//April 26// The discussion of "Mutual Aid" by Dean Spade continues... again! Join us once more from 6:30-8pm to just talk about Chapters 5! This juicy chapter covers themes like: Group Culture, Leadership, Burnout, Conflict, and Joy. I mean, come on. So juicy!!

Volunteer Spotlights!

Y'all are incredible! In the past two months, you've contributed upwards of 800 hours of your time to keep the Café's ship sailing. We couldn't be more humbled by your dedication. Wow!

Special shout out to folks on our **Volunteer Leaderboard** for February and March!!! Racking up those hours! Very impressive Diane, Charlotte, Louise, Daniel, Trouble, et al.!

(P.S. The leaderboard only spotlights folks with Track-it-Forward accounts, just FYI. Make an account! It's fun!).

Our special **Volunteer Spotlight** this month is one of the many incredible delivery drivers -- Elyse Bianchet! Here's a little profile on Elyse (who also goes by Ely):

• How long have you been volunteering with Stone Soup?
I volunteered a few times years ago but started doing so regularly last April because I’m healthy and low risk and wanted to help out.

• How did you hear about Stone Soup originally?
I originally heard about Stone Soup in 2013 when I was at GCC. Ari Pliskin came and did a presentation about the organization in one of my Human Services classes. I was in the Human Services club, which did a fundraiser for Stone Soup, and I volunteered a few times after that.

• How do you fill your time when you’re not delivering meals for Stone Soup!?
I work for the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate as a Research Assistant on various projects that seek to study and address the opioid crisis in our region. In my free time, I love being in the woods with my dogs and my partner Nick, and music—whether making it or just listening, but especially seeing it live, at concerts, bars, or festivals, with friends. It’s the thing I’ve missed most in the last year and what I most look forward to on the other side.

• What’s your favorite thing about volunteering?
My favorite part of volunteering is getting to know the wonderful people on my route, and getting to be part of such an amazing organization. I know how much I enjoy the meals, and am so glad to be able to facilitate that enjoyment for others.