NORTH ADAMS, MA—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior Jessica Krason of Easthampton, MA, volunteers each week at the Berkshire Food Project, an organization that provides free meals to people in the North Adams area.
“Last year, the Student Government Association (SGA) was looking for volunteers around Thanksgiving, so I decided to give it a go,” said Krason, who serves as the public relations chair for SGA. Krason walks from MCLA’s campus to the Berkshire Food Project’s home at the First Congregational Church one day each week. She arrives by 9 a.m. to prepare the daily meal. She also helps serve the meal at noon and stays after to help clean dishes.
“Volunteering makes me appreciate what I have a lot more,” Krason said. “I don’t take what I have right now for granted,” she continued. “I’m more respectful and tolerant of people now. I’m not so quick to judge.”
Krason is so invested in her volunteer work that she reached out to other MCLA clubs and organizations and her fellow SGA members to recruit more volunteers for the Food Project.
“I send out a sign-up sheet at SGA trying to get people to jump on the bandwagon,” she said. Currently, three other SGA members regularly volunteer their time with Krason.
The Berkshire Food Project was started in 1986 by a group of Williams College students looking to create a regular free-lunch program in North Adams. On average, the Berkshire Food Project provides 13,000 free meals per week to the community at the First Congregational Church.