What’s New At the Stone Soup Café?

A whole lot has been changing since COVID 19 came to our Happy Valley, read to find out what’s been going on at the Café

Just one of our many new kitchen items!

COVID 19 Changes to the Café

Since March 21st the Stone Soup Café's sit down meal has been transformed into a curbside pick up and delivered meals! You might ask - "How did you do that?" and "How is it going?"

Well, that could be a whole newsletter in and of itself - and I'll give you the short version. On March 16th the Café board, staff, and key volunteers met to discuss the fate of our Café during the time of COVID 19. After a 2 hour meeting it was nearly unamimous that our mission could not and would not be stopped by the pandemic! We chose to create COVID 19 safety and sanitaiton protocols for all staff and volunteers, we quickly reached out to create RSVP forms and garner Delivery Volunteers, and we found new folks to help us run it all! These unsung heroes are: Bram Morenis, Robin Sidel, Janna Walters, and April Jones. Our orignal team is in the process of training a new set of helpers - soon to be heroes - Jessica Hunt, Patti Kain, and someone yet to be named - could that be you?

Our meal service has grown too! From an avearage of 170 meals a week to an average of over 350 meals a week. If you know us, you know that a well rounded, delicious, nutritious meal is our standard. We are pretty proud to share that our meals have not changed and that our guests are loving the food. We certainly cannot make twice as much food without more help - and luckily we have gotten a great new crew of volunteer staff and crew members. We created a brand new curbside pick up team! These folks are heroes too! They are Brandon Shantie, Gareth Lomax, Mark Majewski, Janet Diani, and Whitney Robbins.

Our kitchen, packing, and cleanup crews have all gotten new folks as well - all of us braving a very hot kitchen for long hours making our food extra special. More heroes to share with you - Lysa Morton, Louise Sauter, Aaron Church, Dianne Peloquin, Emily Clarke, Emily Jarvis, Emily Koester, Steve Hippie, Cynthia Fritz, Kim Scammon, and so many, many more! We are so blessed to do our work with you all!

We have added services beyond our meal! Each Saturday at our curbside pickup you can also get:

  • Face masks lovingly made by crafters who have donated them to the Café
  • Community services and resources information
  • Curbside Food Pantry items - sourced from the Food Bank of Western Mass and donations from local farmers and farms!

More blessings abound at the Stone Soup Café because of this crisis!

No one knew what the needs would be because of the crisis. What we did know is that thousands of people in Franklin County would be in need of meals. We knew that we would have to rise to meet the challange of serving more meals - all individually packaged. We knew that we could do it too!

We started a fundraising page, Loving Support in the Time of COVID 19, and the response has been phenominal! We have so blessed by the many donors who have given generously to support our effors. The costs of providing individually packaged meals and doubling our meal service has had a significant impact on our budget, nearly doubling our staffing and food costs, tripling our papergoods costs, and prompting us to purchase more kitchen tools and equipment to keep up with the demand.

So as you are able, please continue to be generous, every donation aids us in our work in our comminity.

Our Website has a new host and design team!

Thanks to Mik, Donna, Joey, and Sean at Montague Web Works for creating our new website. Feel free to check out the new site at www.thestonesoupcafe.org.

Working with them has been a breeze and we are on their rocketfusion hosting site. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to be able to work with a company that has humans answering the phone, who actually can help you navigate the system, and who are always friendly with a can do attitude. Thanks you all!

Just a few final words:

I am eternally grateful for all of the ways that COVID 19 has renewed our resourcefulness and community "can do" spirit. In this time of great anxiety and trauma, where our lives have been interupted, we as a commiunity have been able to come together and find ways to help one another. When we return to "normal" I hope that we keep many of memories of how helping one another made us feel vital to the greater whole of our community.

As it is spoken in the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival:


Yours in gratitude,

Kirsten Levitt

Executive Director & Chef