A Thanksgiving story from North Adams.

While other students were packing their bags and gearing up for a brief respite from homework and exams, 15 Williams College volunteers were preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner for the Berkshire Food Project on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s just so amazing how many volunteers showed up to help out,” said Valerie Schwarz, the executive director of the Berkshire Food Project.

Now in its 20th year, the BFP provides meals five days a week to anyone who wants to stop in at the First Congregational Church. Today, a special holiday dinner will be served, complete with turkey, turnips, cranberry sauce, potatoes and pumpkin pie.

The Williams volunteers – recruited to help cook and serve the meal by BFP volunteer co-coordinators Lauren Guilmette, a senior philosophy major, and Laura Huang, a freshman – spent the afternoon chopping potatoes and helping other community volunteers prepare for the festivities.

For Guilmette and Huang, bringing together the college with surrounding communities is a way to not only address the problem of hunger but also to make connections with those who live just around the corner.

“What really drew me to the program was how it is face-to-face, day-to-day and very hands-on,” said Huang. “The concentration is on what’s just down the road. We can help out and we should.”

“We can help tackle hunger here and help the worldwide effort,” she added.

“This is a pretty easy way to do something and it’s immediate and practical,” said Guilmette. “It’s not just a program about food justice and hunger issues. It’s a program for the North Adams community.”

Exactly right. Want to save the world? Start by saving North Adams. Kudos to all involved.

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