Happy Thanksgiving Legal Eagles! I hope we all have some time to relax this week with loved ones and recognize the true spirit of the holiday season.
Not everyone is so fortunate. As we enter into the next few months, full of holiday festivities, year-end fun, and celebrations for another semester behind us, it is important to think about our greater community. There are many around us who might not have the resources to put food on the table for their families.
With this sobering reality in mind, BC Law 3L Andrew Fishman recently organized a food drive benefitting the Newton community. It was his second year helping coordinate a food drive through BC Law, as he collected non-perishable items to donate directly to the Newton Food Pantry just in time for the holidays.
I spoke with Andrew about this year’s food drive and the importance of teaming up with the Newton Food Pantry. You can also check out my interview with Andrew last year here.
1) Tell me about how the original food drive came together last year.
Last year, the food drive was inspired by the growing need of our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity is a major issue even in wealthy communities, such as Newton, but it often flies under the radar. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many lost their jobs and ability to provide for themselves and their families. From speaking with my peers, I saw there was a desire to come together and help those hit hardest. I reached out to local organizations to see what we could do to help. The drive ended up benefiting six organizations: Newton Food Pantry, Haley House, Somerville Homeless Coalition, East End House, Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association, and the Greater Boston Food Bank.
2) Why did you feel that it was important to hold the drive for another year?
I didn’t think of it. I was working away this semester and the Newton Food Pantry reached out to me to see if we would be willing to do a food drive for them in the run up to the holidays. The NFP is an independent, all-volunteer pantry which serves more than 220 families a week. Any Newton resident in need can come to the pantry twice a month for fresh and non-perishable food and personal-care products. Last year, the NFP gave out 19,700+ bags to those in need—a dramatic 48% increase over just two years. As you may know, food insecurity is an ongoing problem in Newton, and will continue even after the pandemic. During the holiday season, the need for food donations is even more acute as families strive to make the holidays special for their loved ones. I know any bit could help so I wanted to see if we could do it again. So far, reception from student orgs, administration, LSA, and PILF has been really encouraging. I am hoping we can help NFP.
3) Tell me a bit about the success of the first food drive. Were you hoping to collect even more items this year?
We were able to raise over three thousand dollars for these organizations and donate over one thousand pounds of food. We could not have done it without the support of the student body and administration. I was amazed with the amount of support I received on this project. Both [former] Associate Dean Heather Hayes and [former Assistant Director] Sharon Blumenstock played a major role. Unfortunately, both have left BC Law but they will always be a part of the BC Law family.
I do not think this year is about competing with last year but I would love to see NFP’s pantry have enough items to ensure all members of the Newton community are able to celebrate the upcoming holidays without being worried if they will be able to get enough food.
5) What is your greatest hope for the food drive?
I would love to see multiple cars filled with food to donate to NFP.
6) Is there anything else we should know?
One thing I noticed from last year is how excited the community was to help out. No matter who I spoke to about the drive, I received positive feedback and countless offers of support. This year, I have reached out to a couple of local businesses to see if they would be willing to get involved. One of the generous offers we received was from Fuel Coffee. Based out of MA, Fuel has agreed to donate 15 bags of ground coffee to the drive. They are are a local (but growing) coffeehouse cafe concept that started in 2012. Fuel craft-roasts their own coffees in small batches and offers coffee based beverages, smoothies, Acai Bowls and handmade-fresh foods at all of their cafes. They just opened at Harvard’s Applied Science campus in Allston, are building new cafes in Boston (near BU on Comm. Ave.), in Weymouth and a second cafe in Worcester. They are actively franchising their concept and roast their coffees for the supermarket channel, selling to all Market Basket and Stop ’n Shop supermarkets. Importantly, they craft-roast the new “BC Eagles Blend” coffee – which is now available at BC Bookstores and online for ordering at their website – fuelamericacoffee.com.
Devon Sanders is a third-year student at BC Law, and president of the Impact blog. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.