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From the Kettle - Issue #4

News from the Café!

Posted: to General Newsletter on Tue, May 11, 2021
Updated: Wed, Jun 16, 2021

From the Kettle - Issue #3

Welcome to the Stone Soup Café’s Monthly Newsletter! We aim to share important information with you!

Welcome to the Stone Soup Café's Monthly Newsletter.

We aim to share important information with you!

In this edition you will find:

  • What's New at the Café
  • Mission Focus - a monthly topic of interest
  • Staying Connected - opportunities to "meet up" with Café folx and share time and learning
  • Recipe of the Month & Upcoming Meal Themes

What’s New At The Café:

March was another record month at the Café. We served 2,016 meals! That means that in the first quarter of 2021, we have shared 6,061 meals with our community members. Our pantry continues to be a huge help to those in need. In March we distributed grocery items to 350 people. We served the Just Roots Feastival Meal on March 24th – that’s another 200 meals going out to our community. The next Feastival meal is on April 28th.

If you missed our segment on PBS’s Connecting Point you can watch it here! Our segment starts at minute 12:30. We were thrilled to host Ross Lippman here on February 27th and he certainly captured our 2nd largest meal of the year – Chinese New Year feast.

Our volunteers dedicated over 500 hours of service to prepping, cooking, serving, and distributing meals and pantry items! Every ingredient counts and without each and every one of you our soup would not be so flavorful! Thank you so much for your continued dedication and support.

I want to take a moment to thank our staff for their tireless efforts and dedication to our community. This year of COVID 19 has demanded that we rise to the needs of our neighbors and I am proud to work alongside you all. An extra special “Thanks” to Chef Brandon, who has been leading the kitchen once a month and making some tasty food for us to enjoy.

Chef Kirsten

Mission Focus: Pay What You Can - Paying it Forward

Almost a decade ago the Stone Soup Café was born into being through a community naming process. Then executive director & founder Ariel Pliskin conceived our community as one that would support our efforts through a Pay-What-You-Can and Pay-It-Forward program. He had high hopes that those who could pay would do so and perhaps even pay-it-forward by giving extra to pay for other meals as well. Ariel wanted to create “a new model of hunger relief in which people of all socio-economic backgrounds are treated as valuable members of a diverse and inclusive community.”

Back then we had a very small budget, less than $20,000. In 2011 we fed 25-30 people each Saturday and everyone was a volunteer, even Ariel! We developed a food philosophy, created a steps-to-service volunteer plan, and brought community offerings to our Café a couple of times a month. I remember one week when I spent an extra $40 for our Thanksgiving meal and was reminded of our $68 per week food budget!

Well, here we are 10 years later and times sure have changed! We are so blessed to approach the 10th anniversary of the Café. So many lives have been touched, so many people have been fed, so many beloved members of our community value and cherish us. We are so grateful.

Our board is about to embark on our annual process of creating a budget and we are fearlessly looking at our community’s needs and what it will cost to continue our work. From very humble means and beginnings to the now COVID 19 realities, our budget has exploded. We know that we will serve at least 25,000 meals this year and our projected budget expenses will be at least $250,000!

We want to be 100% transparent with our community so that you all understand what it takes to run the Café. Recently I took a deep look at our first quarter 2021 profit and loss statement and recalculated the actual cost of each meal. The actual cost for each of the 6,016 meals was $11.93 each. That’s an increase from our last cost calculation of almost $2.00. Prices on everything are rising as COVID 19 continues.

Our services have grown from 25 people a week to over 350 people per week. We distribute 425-500 meals every Saturday and we collaborate with many other organizations to feed our community on other days of the week too. Our Saturday food budget exceeds $600 each week, packaging, salaries, rent, and administration have all gone up too! We now have one full-time and seven part-time employees, and upwards of 45 volunteers a week. It takes a village to make sure the meals and our programs all happen every week without a hitch.

You may wonder how the Café is doing with the Pay-What-You-Can model. The truth is – not so good. When we average the number of meals provided with the money in the donation box and the weekly online payments we receive between .75 - $1.25 per meal. That’s about one-tenth the amount of funding it takes to make our program possible.

So, you may ask, “How is the Café able to continue its operations with such a small percentage of costs being covered by the pay-what-you-can donations?” Good question. The Café has been working diligently to find other funding avenues. These include fundraisers, events, catering, grants, and private donations. Even with all of those funding streams, our growth has outpaced them. We are turning to all of you to ask the essential question – can you do more for our community?

Are you able to pay for your meal? Are you able to pay for the meals of others? Could you subscribe on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis to provide meals to our community? If your answer is “yes”, won’t you consider doing so today and aid us in our mission?

I invite you to consider supporting the mission by donating on a recurring basis. As the needs of our community have grown so has the Café’s budget. We need all the help you can share with us! Support Our Mission!

Working to be just, compassionate, and equitable is why we are a “Pay What You Can” Café. We depend upon one another for sustenance and support. We share our work, we share our food, we share a common purpose, and we create equity through our meals, our messages, and access to our resources. What could be more compassionate, just, and equitable than us all participating in the making, packing, and freely sharing our meals? What could be more fair and caring than for each of us to choose what we can afford in return for these offerings? Want to pay for your meals? Donate here!

As ever, I am in awe of our beautiful community and the many blessings we share with one another.

Chef Kirsten

Staying Connected: What’s The Buzz?

We always welcome your questions and feedback! Feel free to send us an email at info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours!

Conversation About Racism: Staying Curious, Moving Forward, and Being Part of the Solution

We are hosting a program designed to encourage discussion between Black and white people and help us learn to appreciate and understand different experiences and perspectives. The conversation will focus on the life experiences of three local Black community members, Jeanne Hall, Richard Hall, and Gloria Matlock, including their thoughts and feelings about the murder of George Floyd and the January 6 violent storming of the Capitol by thousands of people seeking to overturn the results of the Presidential election. The moderator will be Allen Davis, an educator, and racial justice activist.

Time: Apr 11, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87618296110

Our discussions about Dean Spade's book "Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the next)” continues on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, April 13th at 6:30 pm. We’ll be discussing “What is Mutual Aid” & " Solidarity Not Charity" chapters 1-4.
  • Monday, April 26th at 6:30 pm. We’ll be discussing “Working together on PURPOSE” Themes: Group Culture, Leadership, Burnout, Conflict, Joy -chapter 5

We ask that you have read these chapters and in true mutual aid style, we still have books available for you if you would like to read and join our conversation. Here’s the Zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86381813066?pwd=Z25TbHd5T0ZRS29yWm5zVXJWalR5Zz09

Meeting ID: 863 8181 3066

Passcode: 957337

Recipe of the Month & April Meal Themes

Friends, last month I shared my seaweed salad recipe with you. It would be awesome to know if you tried it out! Feel free to send me feedback at our info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com address.

March certainly blew in like a lion and seemed to blow all month long. I was so grateful for the warmer days and the melting of the snow. I delighted in the crocuses and snowdrops that magically appeared in my garden. They reminded me that spring was definitely happening even on those cold blustery days.

We’ve been really blessed by the availability of avocados through the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts several times this year. My favorite dish to make with this amazingly delicious nutritional superfood is avocado tomato salad. Many Café guests have asked for my recipe – so here it is – just for you.

Avocado Tomato Salad

4 avocados

2 Roma tomatoes

¼ cup red onion- finely diced

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley – rough chopped

¼ cup cilantro – rough chopped

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)

¼ teaspoon cumin

Salt & Pepper to taste

A couple of notes on preparing vegetables – when you are cutting tomatoes a serrated knife is really handy, it cuts through the tougher outer flesh with more ease and helps to retain the integrity of the fruit while slicing. When dicing onion, avocado, and herbs you want to use a chef’s knife. A dull knife is dangerous – so make sure your knives are sharp. If you need them sharpened for you the butchers at any supermarket will do that for you – for free!

PREPARATION

  1. Cube your avocados – watch this video for 3 easy steps to get that fabulous fruit cut and freed from its skin with ease

  2. Dice your tomato and onion – (remember to use the correct knife for each) watch this video for an onion cutting tutorial!

  3. Roughly chop your herbs

  4. Juice your lemon or lime

  5. Combine these ingredients in a bowl large enough to mix them

  6. To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, garlic, cumin, Sriacha, salt & pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl.

  7. Pour the dressing over the salad – taste and adjust heat, spice, and salt and pepper to your taste.

  8. Serve as a side dish or over salad greens or even with your favorite chips. You can also top hearty chili or tortilla soup with this delicious salad.

April Meal Themes:

  • 04/03/21 – Easter – Ham Dinner

  • 04/10/21 - Siblings Day – Indian Cuisine

  • 04/17/21 - Int’l Haiku Day – Japanese Themed Meal

  • 04/24/21 - Earth Day – Chef Brandon will serve up a delicious meal

Posted: to General Newsletter on Wed, Mar 31, 2021
Updated: Wed, Apr 7, 2021

Book Signing at the Café

With Local Author Daniel Yalowitz

March 13th & March 20th


Local author, educator, and fabulous Stone Soup volunteer, Daniel Yalowitz, is the author of a new book titled “Reflections on the Nature of Friendship.”

Daniel has graciously offered to do book signings outside the Café on two upcoming Saturdays, March 13th and March 20th!

Here's more info from Daniel about his book --

"Friendship has been instrumental throughout this community-building and in my personal life. Creating this book has been a deeply heartful, meaningful, and life-affirming project for me. Through my life’s work and writing this book, I have reconnected in beautiful and powerful ways with friends new and old, locally and continents away. I have felt tremendous gratitude in giving myself the gift of time, along with the synergy of love and energy to write this book, which I hope you will enjoy."

The book will be available for $20 (+$1.50 tax; cash and check only please) and Daniel will happily inscribe your copy as you desire!

Posted: to General Newsletter on Thu, Mar 11, 2021
Updated: Thu, Mar 11, 2021

From the Kettle - Issue #2

Welcome to the Stone Soup Café’s Monthly Newsletter! We aim to share important information with you!

In this edition you will find:

  • What's New at the Café
  • Mission Focus - a monthly topic of interest
  • Staying Connected - opportunities to "meet up" with Café folx and share time
  • Recipe of the Month & Upcoming Meal Themes

What’s New At The Café:

February flew by in a flurry! We were so grateful for all of your support of our Valentine’s Day FUNdraiser. We sold 20 dozen cupcakes, 10 dozen decorated cookies, and 20 Decorate Your Own cookie kits. Folx let us know that they had tons of fun decorating cookies with their loved ones.

We received two special treats of our own in February! We were awarded a Massachusetts Food Security Infrastructure Grant to help us purchase more kitchen equipment and build our capacity to make even more meals. Then we received word that our community outreach project will be funded through the Baystate Better Together Grant. We are tickled pink!

We served 1,825 meals this month at our Saturday meals. Our “Free Market” emergency food pantry served 268 people in February. We are so grateful for the over 100 volunteers who shared over 500 hours of their time and talents – THANK YOU SO MUCH! Because of you, our Café can serve delicious restaurant-quality meals to our community.

We restarted our collaboration with Just Roots’ Feastival team and served our first Feastival of 2021 on February 24th – 185 meals of hearty beef or bean stew over lemon kale rice with local apples made into a slaw salad and sweet beet brownies were on the menu. Feastivals will happen once a month on the last Wednesday through May and then we could move to twice a month after that…stay tuned.

We’ve been selected to be in a news feature by “Connecting Point” a PBS news show. Ross Lippman videographer and editor of the show filmed “Stone Soupers” in action all day on February 27th. Ross has let us know that the story will air in the next week or so – stay tuned for details about how you can tune in and watch.

Lastly, we know the vaccine rollout is happening, and yet with supply chain issues and new COVID 19 variants on the rise, we turned to the experts about what more we could do for protection as we work together at the Café. The recommendation was to wear double masks – yet that can be very cumbersome in an already hot environment – so we found a solution! We purchased cloth masks with filter inserts and had them screen-printed by local artisan Carol Michelfelder at Taproot Threads. We are giving these masks (which offer 4 layers of protection when the filter is inserted) to our volunteers and staff. We know that everyone is better protected while working at the Café when wearing a mask.

Mission Focus: Justice, Equity, and Compassion For Our Community

When our founders Bernie Glassman (Zen Peacemakers Founder) and Jeff Bridges (Oscar-winning actor and Zen Buddhist) decided to create the “Let All Eat Café” they had had experiences that showed them that “soup kitchens” shared lots of love at their meals, but not much dignity. Thus they conceived that the Café would serve up love and compassion, recognizing that each and every one of us is part of one another and deserving of dignity and respect.

Perhaps this is best embodied in Bernie’s penning of the Zen Peacemakers mantra “The Gates of Sweet Nectar.” He asked Krishna Das to put the invocation to music. The words help formulate the manner in which Stone Soup Café offers its meal to all who wish to partake.

Calling out to hungry hearts
Everywhere through endless time
You who wander, you who thirst
I offer you this bodhi mind.
Calling out to hungry spirits

Everywhere through endless time
Calling out to hungry hearts
All the lost and left behind
Gather round and share this meal
Your joy and your sorrow
I make them mine.

At the Stone Soup Café, you can see this mantra enacted every Saturday in its entirety. We freely offer ourselves into service of our community and that doing so means we are also serving ourselves. We are one, beautiful and flawed, part and parcel of one another, dependent upon one another, interconnected and in service to each other. Want to see Krishna Das and Bernie talk about the Gates of Sweet Nectar? Watch here!

Working to be just, compassionate, and equitable is why we are a “Pay What You Can” Café. We depend upon one another for sustenance and support. We share our work, we share our food, we share a common purpose, and we create equity through our meals, our messages, and access to our resources. What could be more compassionate, just, and equitable than us all participating in the making, packing, and freely sharing our meals? What could be more fair and caring than for each of us to choose what we can afford in return for these offerings? Want to pay for your meals? Donate here!

I invite you to consider supporting the mission by donating on a recurring basis. As the needs of our community have grown so has the Café’s budget. We need all the help you can share with us! Support Our Mission!

As ever, I am in awe of our beautiful community and the many blessings we share with one another.

Chef Kirsten

Staying Connected: What’s The Buzz?

We always welcome your questions and feedback! Feel free to send us an email at info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours!

We are reading and then discussing Dean Spade's book "Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the next)."

In true mutual aid style, we have copies of the book at the Café if you would like to read it and join in on our discussion. The first discussion is set for Sunday, March 7th at 6:30 pm. We do ask that you read the book or at least have most of it read by our first discussion. Here’s a link to the sign up for the event

https://forms.gle/LMyvCdhmmV1ddxj16

We’re looking forward to a riveting conversation about mutual aid and how it ties into our work at Stone Soup Café and beyond.

The Greenfield Stop n Shop has selected Stone Soup Café as its March “Bloomin’ For Good” beneficiaries. Here’s another way to raise some FUNds for the Café this month. Each specially marked bouquet you purchase means that Stone Soup Café will receive $1.

Local author, educator, and Stone Soup volunteer Daniel Yalowitz has a new book titled “Reflections on the Nature of Friendship”. Daniel has graciously offered to do book signings at the Café on March 14th and 21st. The book costs $20.00 and we will have copies available for you to purchase and Daniel will inscribe your copy as you desire. Look for our upcoming posts about this exciting opportunity to meet the author.

Recipe of the Month & March Meal Themes

Friends, last month I shared my vegetable stock recipe with you. It would be awesome to know if you tried it out! Feel free to send me feedback at our info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com address.

Marching into March is always an interesting time – seed inventory happens and the spring winds start to blow, surprise snowstorms make us hibernate a bit more, and yet there is a stirring within me that makes it hard to sit still. Do you feel that way too?

I yearn for tender green yumminess and often make nutrient-dense salads that help my system prepare for the spring activities that take lots of my energies. So I decided to share my seaweed salad recipe with you this month!

Seaweed Salad

2 ounces dried green wakame seaweed

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 small carrot, peeled and sliced paper-thin

1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage

2 ounces daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds

4 green onions, slivered

PREPARATION

  1. Put the wakame in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Drain in a colander, pat dry, and place in a serving bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl.
  3. Spoon half the dressing over the seaweed, add the lime/lemon juice and toss gently. Taste and add a small amount of salt & pepper if necessary. Surround the salad with the carrot, red cabbage, daikon, you may add other vegetables if you want – like cucumber, radishes, celery. Season them lightly with salt and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
  4. Sprinkle the salad with white and black sesame seeds and green onions.

March Meal Themes:

  • 03/06/21 - Int’l Womens’ Day – World Cuisine
  • 03/13/21 - Isra and Miraj – Traditional Islamic Cuisine
  • 03/20/21- Spring Equinox – Chef Brandon will whip up a delicious meal!
  • 03/27/21 – Passover – Traditional Jewish Cuisine

Posted: to General Newsletter on Sun, Feb 28, 2021
Updated: Sun, Feb 28, 2021

Ask the Chef! Tonight at 6:30pm!

Chef Kirsten is on the hot seat...!

Join Stone Soup Café TONIGHT at 6:30pm EST for this month's Virtual Café Hangout: Ask the Chef!

Many of you have wondered how we select recipes, how we plan our menus, how we pick the meal's theme, where we get our local ingredients, or how Kirsten makes the most DELICIOUS gluten-free desserts! Chef Kirsten shares all her secrets TODAY at 6:30pm!

Ask the Chef everything you ever wanted to know about flavors, recipes, and how the meals come together every Saturday. Pop in! Pop out!

Click this link to join at 6:30PM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85116829384?pwd=NkZ6RCtBUFRsbnFmRVgrUGdvMXVydz09

You are invited to bring your questions and curiosity, or just say, "Hi!" We'd love to see your face.

See you tonight!

Jansyn Thaw

Posted: to General Newsletter on Sun, Feb 21, 2021
Updated: Sun, Feb 21, 2021

From the Kettle - Issue #1 January 2021

Welcome to the Stone Soup Café’s Monthly Newsletter! We aim to share important information with you!

A New Year - A New Endeavor!

Welcome to the first of our monthly newsletters!

In this edition you will find:

  • What's New at the Café
  • Mission Focus - a monthly topic of interest
  • Staying Connected - opportunities to "meet up" with Café folx and share time
  • Recipe of the Month & Upcoming Meal Themes

What's New At The Café

January certainly has been an important and interesting month at the Café. Our staff is growing!

We welcome Cara Klempner to our staff as a grants consultant. Cara's skill and knowledge in grants and funding is a boon to our quickly growing organization. We look forward to learning about the many possibilities for our future with her guidance.

Our beloved Jansyn Thaw became our first ever Director of Programs and Marketing on January 1st! Jansyn oversees the volunteer, emergency food pantry, and delivery programs. She also does all of our social media postings and marketing for all things Stone Soup Café. Jansyn shares her creativity, compassion, and love for our community in everything she does - feel free to reach out to her anytime at info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com or 413-422-0020.

The bitter cold is here and we are making sure that folx have what they need! We served 2,035 meals this month! Delivered meals are very popular right now - and we are so grateful to our weekly drivers - they rock!

We also provided groceries for well over 400 individuals at our weekly Emergency Food Pantry. This service was enhanced on Saturday the 30th when Greenfield Police Officers Bill and Laura Gordon arranged for USDA boxes to be available to our guests. We love our community friends who share and care with us all!

We have compiled our annual meal data as well - we served 21,953 meals from January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020. Because of COVID-19 our meals have more than doubled.

The entire staff, board, and volunteer crew have worked hard to make sure we were able to safely and reliably provide meals for our community. Hurrah for pivoting and planning - all our efforts have certainly made a difference.

We've been discussing and making plans for our beloved Café in the past several months. Many of our discussions have been focused on our operation and the way in which we have pivoted to meet the demand for our meals and comply with our rigorous COVID-19 safety practices. Yet, we have been keenly aware that our mission "To create a community space where people from all walks of life come together to share nourishment, connection, and learning for body, mind and spirit" has been interrupted by COVID-19. So, we have been focusing on how we can continue to create community space when there is no one in our dining room. We are committed to our community and making sure that we stay connected to you too. We have been holding zoom hangouts, having art displayed at our curbside pickup, and now a monthly newsletter to keep the connections going and growing.

The Café's resident artists, Whitney Robbins and Marjorie Morgan, created magnificent art displays for our MLK weekend. These works have helped community members have discussions about antiracism as they wait in line for meals. We also held our first ever "Pick Your Own Film Festival and Discussion Group" for the MLK weekend of reflection and celebration. We had a lovely group of participants who showed up and shared their thoughts about the films they watched. Our discussion was enlightening, it helped us know one another better and speak our truths. The Recorder write a piece about our activities - here's the link!

Mission in Focus - Pay What You Can

A lot of people are confused about our model. They wonder "What is the Café; is it a soup kitchen?" The simple answer is - not so simple! The reality is that we are neither a soup kitchen nor a for-profit restaurant. Stone Soup Café is a community restaurant operating in a manner that is more like mutual aid than a charity - and yet - we are a nonprofit corporation that allows our supporters to make non-taxable contributions to help us feed our neighbors.

Here's a definition of Pay What You Can (PWYC): A non-profit or revenue driven plan of action which does not rely on set costs for its merchandise, but rather requests that clients pay what they feel the item or administration is worth to them. PWYC relies on correspondence (connection) and trust to succeed!

The Stone Soup Café operates in a PWYC manner so that all members of the community are able to access healthy, nutritious, delicious, cooked with love meals. Our meal is for everyone, every time they want to dine with us, regardless of their ability to pay what it costs us to provide the meal.

If the Café was a "soup kitchen" many people might think that "only poor people or people in need or food insecure people" can participate in our community Café, which simply isn't true. The PWYC model invites us to all participate at the level in which we can.

Sharing our work through volunteering, our wisdom through our interactions and expertise, and our wealth through the PWYC model is at the heart of our Café. We trust our community to be here for one another and we are honored to be a part in creating a social economy that not only pays what it can but is also paid back through meaningful experiences.

"So, what does it cost to provide a meal?" This is a question we are often asked. We've done the math and we know that on average the cost of a meal is $10.00. In the past we shied away from putting a suggested donation on our meals - thinking that some folx might feel terrible about not being able to pay - or others might be inclined to only pay the suggested price rather than what they could. Operating a PWYC is an exercise in vulnerability and trust. We open ourselves to the possibility that people may not participate in PWYC and we trust that our community will pay what they can!

Want to see how altruistic behaviors like giving, helping, and sharing actually make you healthier and are wired into our DNA? Watch this TED Talk by Judith Manshanden who was one of the first to use a business model based on the idea of abundance. In her ‘pay as you can’ restaurant “GEEF! Café” (the GIVE! Café) healthy and nutritious meals were served and people paid in cash or kind as they were able. Watch the 9-minute talk here!

Staying Connected! What's The Buzz?

We always welcome your questions and feedback! Feel free to send us an email at info.thestonesoupcafe@gmail.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours!

In February we will have a Zoom hangout focused on "Ask the Chef"! Many of you have wondered what recipes we use, how to cut an onion, or how we plan our menus. You are invited to bring your questions and curiosity to our February Zoom Hangout. We'll meet at 6:30 on Sunday February 21st - Want to join us click the link here!

Also, in February we will be reading and then discussing Dean Spade's book "Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the next)" - We are working on getting an expert facilitator for this discussion group. We'll send out a link for our first discussion soon!

Lastly, there is a February Sweet Treat Fundraiser! We are featuring Decorated Valentines Day Cookies, Decorate Your Own Cookie Kits, and 3 flavors of cupcakes. We hope you are able to participate in the FUNdraiser and spread the word too! Orders are open until February 10th for pickup on Friday the 12th from noon until 6pm. You can place your order here!

Recipe of the Month & February Meal Themes

I love February! There's usually lots of snow and I start my garden planning. I spend time with my beloved husband and make lots of comforting recipes. This month I wanted to give you a recipe that helps you make so many others - stock!

Friends making your own stock can save you money, uses your resources to the fullest, and helps our environment too. Use stock to make your soups, rice, beans, lentils, and other dishes that call for water in their recipes!

Here's the deal - homemade vegetable stock makes everything taste better! There are a few tricks to making stock - and so I thought we should start with the basics! Wash everything before you prep your meals and save the bits for your own stock!

What goes in vegetable stock? Onion, garlic, & carrot peels, kale, collard, or other greens', broccoli, cauliflower, & herb stems, celery ends and leaves, leaves from greens of all kinds (cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.), tomato, zucchini, summer squash and pepper ends too!

What doesn't go into vegetable stock - potato peels (because they are starchy and muddy your stock), hard squash peels (because they do not impart flavor and take up too much room), turnip or rutabaga peels (because they are often waxed) - basically anything that will muddy your stock should not go in it!

Collect vegetable peels, stems, leaves, and pieces from your meal prep(s) - hint you can freeze these until you have enough to make a large batch of stock. When you have 4 or 5 quarts of veggie bits you are ready to make stock!

How to make stock:

In a large pot - at least 8 quarts - place all of your peels, stems, leaves, and pieces of vegetables. Fill pot with water covering the vegetables. Place 4-5 bay leaves in the pot. You can also put in red chili flakes, garlic cloves, ginger peel, or anything else that you want to use as flavor enhancers to your stock. Do Not Add Salt!

Cover the pot and place it on the stove on very low heat for 8-12 hours. You could also do this in a crock pot on low for 12 hours.

Little tips for you during cooking - you will need to check the pot and make sure that the water level does not boil away. You may need to add more water as the stock cooks. The longer it cooks the more concentrated the stock will become. I like a concentrated stock because I can add some water and still know that the flavor will still be lovely!

Once the stock is cooked (all the veggies will be very mushy) take it off the heat. Let it cool for several hours. Then use a sieve/strainer and drain the liquid away from the solids. I use another pot and a wire strainer to separate these and then I use the bottom of a cup to press the liquid out of the veggies to get every drop of goodness!

Place your cooled stock in containers (I use the heavy duty quart sized plastic take out containers) and store in your fridge or freeze them! You can keep the stock in your refrigerator for a week or freeze (good for at least 6 months) it in containers to use as needed.

February Menu Themes:

  • 02/06/21 - Chef Brandon’s Birthday Meal - Mediterranean
  • 02/13/21 - Valentine’s Day Meal - Italian
  • 02/20/21 - Mardi Gras - New Orleans Inspired
  • 02/27/21 - Chinese New Year Celebration - The Year of the Ox

Posted: to General Newsletter on Thu, Jan 28, 2021
Updated: Tue, Feb 2, 2021

Valentine’s Day Sweet Treats Fundraiser!

Help support your hometown café while having fun with your loved ones decorating your own cookies!

Will you be our Valentine??

Stone Soup Café is hosting a SWEET TREATS FUNDRAISER!

Chef Kirsten (and her baking apprentice Emily Clarke) have crafted awesome DIY Cookie Kits for you to take home. We’ll provide the sugar cookies, 3 frosting colors, and 3 sprinkle varieties… and YOU take it from there!

Order & Pay HERE!
stone-soup-cafe.square.site

All our sweet treats are gluten-free, and you can choose vegan or vegetarian.

Don’t want to decorate your own cookies? Let the professionals do it for you! ;) Craving some cupcakes instead? We got you covered.

Here’s our full list of sweet treats you can purchase for pick-up on Feb 12th:

  • Decorate-Your-Own Cookie Kit
  • Pre-Decorated Valentine’s Cookies
  • Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry filling and Mocha Buttercream
  • Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd filling and Swiss Merengue frosting
  • Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry filling and Cream Cheese frosting

Pick up your goodies on Friday, February 12th between 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM at the Café's red door on Hope Street in Greenfield!

Order & Pay HERE! stone-soup-cafe.square.site

Fill your Valentine’s Day with sweetness!

Posted: to General Newsletter on Tue, Jan 26, 2021
Updated: Tue, Jan 26, 2021

Stone Soup News & Updates!

Photos from our Pop-Up MLK Day Art Show and a sneak peek at what’s coming up next month.

Dear Stone Soup supporters,


Did you see the Greenfield Recorder published an article on our “Pick Your Own Anti-Racism Film Festival” and Pop-Up MLK Day Art Show? Check out the article!

As part of our Film Fest, on Sunday night a group of us got together virtually to discuss what MLK means to us, the incredible films we had watched, and ideas about how White people can show up in the anti-racism movement. It was an incredible discussion and we are eager to host more community events like that in the future!

The Pop-Up MLK Day Art Show was also a huge success, despite the rain. For those of you not following us on Instagram (@stonesoupcafegreenfield) or Facebook (@StoneSoupGreenfield), here are some beautiful images from our Pop-Up MLK Day Art Show, featuring art by Whitney Robbins, Marjorie Morgan, Rachel Jenkins, and Leilany Zaylene Jackson!

Thanks for being a part of all of our community-building endeavors, anti-racism activities, and showing up to support us for our weekly Saturday meals!

Keep your eye on what’s coming up in the next month at the Café —

  • Feb 12th — Valentine’s Day Fundraiser: Decorate-Your-Own-Cookie Kits! More info coming soon!
  • Feb 21st, 6pm — Virtual Zoom Hangout: Ask the Chef! Everything you ever wanted to know about flavors, recipes, and how the meals come together every Saturday.
  • Date TBD — Mutual Aid Book Club! Join us in discussing Dean Spade’s latest book “Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

See you around town!

Jansyn Thaw

Volunteer Coordinator & Assistant Director

Stone Soup Café

Art by Leilany Zaylene Jackson (age 10)

Painting by Whitney Robbins
By Whitney Robbins + Marjorie Morgan
Painting by Whitney Robbins & Marjorie Morgan
Pop-Up Art Show + Food Pantry table!

Posted: to General Newsletter on Wed, Jan 20, 2021
Updated: Wed, Jan 20, 2021

MLK Weekend Zoom Hangout and Film Discussion

You asked for it and we have risen to the challenge! Meet with your Café friends each month to share and learn from one another.

In honor of MLK Day, Stone Soup Café is hosting a Pick-Your-Own Anti-Racism Film Fest!

MLK Day is an opportunity for deep reflection and personal engagement around race and racism. It's a federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., who was born in Georgia on January 15, 1929, and was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. Let's continue to learn from his legacy.

Poke through our fantastic list of anti-racism flicks and commit to watching at least one before Sunday evening. Once you've watched a film, let's get together virtually on Sunday night (January 17th), hang out with your favorite Stone Soup folks, and share about the films we watched!

OUR MOVIE PICKS:

  1. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1982)
  2. Selma (2014)
  3. 13th (2016)
  4. Kiki (2017)
  5. King In The Wilderness (2018)
  6. John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020)
  7. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations - Where Do We Go From Here? (2020)

Check out the film links here! We have videos for kids too! >> https://bit.ly/2XMYN3D

Will you join together with Stone Soup Café and make time to watch one film? (Or two? Or three!?) We can't wait to see you (virtually) on Sunday night and share about the films we watched!

Check out the Facebook event! https://www.facebook.com/events/161118719131115

Join the Zoom Hangout on Sunday!

Sunday Jan 17, 2021 6:00 PM --> https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86740457544?pwd=a3pEWXBMUTZRMjk5V2p0MGdvTnhVdz09

In solidarity and community,

Jansyn Thaw, Stone Soup Café Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant Director

P.S. We are hosting a pop-up art show on Saturday at the Café! Come by and get your meal and check out the local art inspired by Black Lives Matter and MLK Day.

Posted: to General Newsletter on Wed, Jan 13, 2021
Updated: Wed, Jan 13, 2021

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

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:

FORWARD TOGETHER, NOT ONE STEP BACK!

Yours in gratitude,

Kirsten Levitt

Executive Director & Chef

Posted: to General Newsletter on Mon, Jun 8, 2020
Updated: Wed, Jan 13, 2021