Stearns Farm will donate two shares to local hunger relief organizations next year, thanks to a grant for $1,500 from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“As a non-profit, our mission includes a responsibility to give back to the community,” says Jill Boyd, secretary of the Stearns Farm board of directors. Boyd, an employee with Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, an organization of doctors affiliated with the medical center, applied for the grant earlier this summer.
“Many residents of Framingham do not have the means to access our programs, and we want to reach out to a broader swath of our community,” adds Boyd. “The grant will provide our organically-grown veggies, berries, herbs and flowers to families who would not otherwise have access to our shares.”
Nomi Sofer, president of the Stearns Farm board, notes the grant provides seed money for what could be a larger program, if the farm is able to get additional grants. “Eventually, we hope to expand to the point where we donate 8-10 full shares, or 5% of what we grow.”
Recipient organizations will be chosen based on their ability to use fresh produce–not all hunger support organizations have that capacity. The list of possible recipient organizations includes a number of local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters where Stearns Farm has donated surplus weekly produce for two decades.
The grant is funded through the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Community Health Fellow program, which supports community-based organizations where employees volunteer their time. Boyd has been a Stearns Farm sharer since 2007 and a board member since 2015.