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Charity Spotlight: The Food Project

July 25, 2018

Charity Spotlight: The Food Project

Serve Kindness is teaming up with The Food Project, one of Greater Boston’s best providers of wholesome food to the underserved, to support youth and community leaders who are changing the food system. 

Serve Kindness spoke to Lucy Sweeney, Associate Director of Development, The Food Project

How did you get involved with Serve Kindness?

Jillian and Melissa [the Founders] are both CSA members of our 30-acre farm in Lincoln, MA, where The Food Project has been working with youth and growing food for communities in Greater Boston for 27 years. They both live in Lincoln and have been fans and supporters of ours for a while! When they approached us in January with the idea of Serve Kindness, it seemed like a natural, easy partnership that was a win-win for everyone.

Is it a trend among organizations like yours to partner with like-minded organizations to raise awareness and funds?

I think so! It seems the number of socially-minded businesses is on the rise, and this to me is a hopeful trend. I think more and more people are realizing that they have power in the consumer choices they make, and want to put their dollars towards businesses and organizations who truly care and are taking action to change the “business as usual” practices that are so often harmful to people and the planet. There’s a connection between the person who buys a Serve Kindness bowl for a friend and the person who decides to spend their hard-earned money at The Food Project’s affordable farmers market in Roxbury or Lynn, because they know their dollar is going towards something that is making a difference on a local and personal level.

What benefits does the partnership with Serve Kindness offer your community?

Other than the direct funding The Food Project receives through sales of Serve Kindness bowls, getting the word out about our mission and vision to new audiences is a great opportunity. As Serve Kindness grows bigger and reaches more people, so will our ability to connect with individuals who share our belief that youth leadership is critical and that all people have a right to healthy, affordable food nourishes themselves and the planet we share. For as long as The Food Project has been around, and considering our reputation nationally in food justice work, there are still so many people out there who are unaware. Communication has a ripple effect, and the more people who gain awareness, the stronger our community becomes. Each connection we make plants a seed that has the potential to set roots and grow something meaningful.

Can you share any anecdotes about how fundraising or donations have served The Food Project?

Donations are so important and cover eighty-five percent of our costs to make this work possible. There are countless stories I could share about people whose lives are transformed through The Food Project, such as the shy, self-conscious youth who over one summer working on Seed Crew experiences dramatic personal growth—coming out of their shell to become a thoughtful leader for social justice. One resident in Boston’s Dudley neighborhood, Tasha Harris, is an active community gardener whose teenage son has worked on our Crews. She shares, “I twisted his arm to apply and he was accepted into Seed Crew last summer. What intrigued me the most about his growth was that he was much more opinionated, agitated, and conscientious.” Tasha, who grows food in her garden built by Food Project youth and shops at our farmers market in Roxbury, shares that “Eating locally, organically, and healthy does not come on the cheap, so for me having access to these resources is life changing!”

What are your goals for your organization—big and small?

At The Food Project, we believe that everyone has a right to purchase and grow high quality, fresh food—regardless of their age, race, class, or zip code. We believe youth play an important role in leading this work and creating a future food system and community that is inclusive and benefits us all. To support this vision, we hire 120 young people and grow and distribute 200,000 lbs. of food each year. We are so grateful to our many partners and supporters who share this goal and help us raise nearly three million dollars each year to make it a reality. There are many ways to get involved, and we always need and appreciate individuals who support us financially and help spread the word!

How does your organization and business #servekindness?

The Food Project serves kindness in so many ways! One example is through our work at senior housing sites in Lynn, MA. Throughout the summer, our youth and staff pack up the van full to the brim of beautiful, freshly picked vegetables that have been grown with love and care on our farms, and drive them to a senior housing site to sell to residents at very affordable rates. Seniors often have difficulty accessing fresh food due to economic and transportation constraints — and they are arguably a population in greatest need of fresh, healthy food. I think the bright shining faces of the youth who show up to sell these veggies each week does so much more than add nutrition to their plates. It is definitely an act of kindness, one that humanizes everyone involved, making people feel seen, important, and cared for.

To learn more, visit thefoodproject.org.

Shop bowls to benefit The Food Project.

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We are always interested in learning more about charities serving kindness. If you have a charity you would like to nominate for inclusion on our website, or if you'd like to host a sale, please email us at nominate@servekindness.com

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