Growing up in an Italian family, I was immersed in the culture of food. I believe that good food is more than just sustenance. Food unites us all as human beings. Food is a common thread and a significant part of our culture. Mom taught me the importance of good food and nutrition and how important bringing the family together around the dining table was to our culture. For people with scarce economic resources, a regular source of nutritious food at little or no cost is a tremendously vital component of their existence.
My mom, Angeline, was a wonderful cook, and a great collector of recipes. As part of my work as Executive Director of the Amesbury and Merrimac Housing Authorities, I published a regular newsletter for our residents and would always include some of Mom’s recipes on the back page, under the heading The Recipe Lady. The residents loved these recipes, not only because they were delicious, but because they used common, inexpensive ingredients and seasonings – perfect for anyone on a budget who loves great food.
I was introduced to Our Neighbors' Table during my tenure at the housing authorities. Once I became aware of the mission and the good work that was being performed by ONT, I became a devotee. Our Neighbors' Table was a force of good that would assist our residents in a multitude of ways, not the least of which was to enhance “food security” by providing good nutrition, on a regular basis. Over the last decade, I have seen Our Neighbors’ Table expand its mission and outreach, even in the midst of difficult economic times for small charities. I get deeply involved in causes that I believe in, and Our Neighbors’ Table is one of my favorite charities.
My participation in Our Neighbor’s Table was so important to me before my mom passed away in 2014 at the age of 97; and now especially after her death, it is a way I can continue to honor her and stress those things that were very important to her.
To honor my mother and to keep her memory alive, I have put together the best of her recipes in a cookbook called, appropriately, The Recipe Lady. The initial run of the “The Recipe Lady” cookbook will be paid for in full by my family to honor this great lady. All of the proceeds will go directly to Our Neighbors’ Table. One of the single most important aspects of mom’s life was “La Famiglia” (the family). I am sure she would be very pleased to know that her recipe collection will benefit families in need and give them the opportunity to gather together each day around the dinner table with a wonderful meal to nourish their bodies, minds and spirit.
Working with charities is an American Tradition. For me, the most important contribution I can make is to assure that elders, the disabled, and especially families with children have access to good nutrition. It's getting back to the basics. And it's about staying local.
ONT will be hosting a food drive this Saturday, July 18th, 9a-3p, at the Market Basket in Rowley. We're hoping to fill our box truck to help keep our food pantry programs stocked through the summer.
Most people think of holding a food drive during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. But the reality is hunger is prevalent in our community year-round. Summer months are particularly hard for families whose children typically get free- and reduced- meals at school.
1 out of every 8 children and more than 1 out of every 5 seniors in our area are facing hunger and need our help.
Join us on Saturday, 9am-3pm, at Market Basket, Rte. 1, Rowley, and donate non-perishable food items and toiletries to help us keep food on our neighbors' tables all year. Check out our wishlist for our most-needed items. See you Saturday!
Amesbury Police Department will host its annual Fill-A-Cruiser Food Drive on Saturday, November 22nd for the 10th year in a row! Officer Tom Hanshaw has been leading this initiative year after year. What keeps him going? I continue to help out because I see the need in our own community on a daily basis. Young families, single moms, senior citizens and people who develop health issues depend on ONT. Hosting the Fill A Cruiser is that little bit we can do as a group to help out.
Once again, members of the APD will partner up with local students and volunteers to collect your donations in front of Stop & Shop, Amesbury, from 9am - 2pm on the Saturday before Thanksgiving - the busiest food shopping day of the year! The event is boosted by the support from the local shops in the Carriagetown Plaza, including Papa Ginos, who provides free pizza to the volunteers, and Stop & Shop who provide coffee and hot chocolate and really help to promote the drive inside their store. RTN Credit Union will be accepting donations all week leading up to the drive. Whether you're shopping on Saturday or can just swing by to drop off donations you've picked up earlier in an another place, ultimately this day is a success because of YOU!
As we approach the holidays, so many of you are thinking of ways to give back. ONT is lucky to have such a generous community. In Amesbury, our busy food drive season kicked off with a bang with great drives organized by AHS students at the election polls and Scout Packs 4 & 7 in their annual Scouting for Food Drive. Combined, these drives brought in $1800 and more than 2,000 pounds of food! Thank you, all, for such a great job! And the season is just beginning. Through November 21st, students at Amesbury High School and the Cashman Elementary School can participate in various food and penny collections.
And, on Saturday, November 22nd, the Amesbury Police Department will be hosting the 10th Annual Fill-A-Cruiser Food Drive at Carriagetown Plaza in front of Stop & Shop from 9am-2pm. If you're going to the Amesbury-Newburyport Thanksgiving Football Game, the Boosters from both rival cities will host their annual food collection.
And, in case food drives aren't what you're looking for, you can host your own event. What better reason to have a party than to celebrate the holidays and invite your friends and family to support your favorite organization - Our Neighbors' Table? New this year - ONT now has a Giving Tree Program! Host a Giving Tree in your home or place of business, complete with tags for donations that will help feed your neighbors in need throughout the year. We've even created the tags for you! Email Joan.firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete Giving Tree kit or for tips on organizing your holiday party.
Join 9-year-old Andre Bailin, the youngest race director in the Northeast (and maybe the country) in his challenging run to raise money for Our Neighbors' Table and Amesbury Days. Rock CAN Run will be held on Saturday, June 28th, and features a challenging 1-mile climb to the top of Po' Hill. Batchelder Park is Amesbury's hidden jewel with views as far as the Atlantic Ocean and Mount Washington. Run or walk. Just register today!
Twenty-three area bank and credit union branches participated in the second annual food drive for ONT's pantry. Read more.