Service Learning Posts 1, 2, & 3

Image Source via Fenway CDC homepage

Part One: The Mission!

Ashley and Gabby are apart of the project one service learning group hosted at the Fenway CDC. The Fenway CDC is the Fenway Community Development Corporation that strives to improve the lives of low-income families by building and preserving affordable housing and investing in local projects that engage the entire Fenway community to protect the neighborhood’s economic and racial diversity as well as its long term vibrancy.

“We improve the economic and social well-being of residents by providing social support services, workforce development program, financial literacy, health programs, and adult education. We train residents to make positive changes in the neighborhood and improve their quality of life …[envisioning] smart growth and sustainability where residents, institutions, and businesses thrive together. We seek to capitalize on the opportunities and address the challenges arising from the Fenway’s unique concentration of world-renowned institutions, which are important drivers of the regional economy.”

The Fenway CDC has several programs it runs including:

Civic Engagement
Urban Village
Housing Development
Resident Services
Economic Development
Fenway Family Coalition
Seniors Program

Part Two: Project One

Our project is focused on the Fenway CDC’s newest service, the Fair Foods program. This program assists families of all-income levels in providing large bags of mixed fresh produce, (along with other items such as breads and occasionally meats) for a suggested donation of $2. Operating as a two dollars a bag for roughly 12 lbs of mostly produce, the Fair Foods program distributes food at over twenty sites in churches, schools, and public housing and senior centers across Boston. It is our mission as group one to promote this program via flyers, phone calls, and other forms of social media to get the message out to the community!

We brought flyers to local stores in the Fenway area that stated they didn’t have information to give out to individuals, so we made sure to stop in at nearby pharmacies, grocery stores, and colleges within the Fenway area to get the word out to other college students as well.

We also took some time aside to head down to the Fair Food’s site to get a chance to see how the process works. As a team, we came in and assisted unloading the food truck at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, and prepping the bags of mixed goods prior to the event. Once finished, we waiting for individuals to come in, and assisted with handing out bags to families in need. We also got the chance to see what can be made of the produce by having an active member of the Fair Food’s program make a recipe with the goods located in the bag- I (Gabby) thought this was a beneficial element to the program, because many families don’t necessarily know what to cook when given a mixed bag of items they may not be familiar with!

Young Volunteer showing her produce to go into the $2 bag at Fair Foods

Part Three: Closing Remarks

Being exposed to the Fair Food’s project was really eye opening in terms of the amount of quality produce that is left for disposal, and to be wasted away. By having local grocery stores package their remaining foods that are still deemed good to eat to be shipped to local communities for a reduced cost, families can receive healthy alternatives while donating to a charitable non-profit that strives to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income families. Our hopes are that the program expands to other parts of the city besides Fenway, and that more grocery stores can get on board to reduce throwing away good produce. The overarching theme of sustainability in this class has stretched into this service learning program, highlighting the consistent need to effectively encourage elimination in wasting quality foods.

As we continue to promote Fair Food’s, the word of mouth technique can only outstretch so far. Expansion of communication in future must continue, promoting in different languages, and in different locations throughout the city to continuously spread the word for the Fenway CDC!

If you would like to volunteer your time with the Fair Food’s program, feel free to contact Lizzie Grobbel, at lgrobbel@fenwaycdc.org