Hands across the table: Sustainability, food and community.
We at Northeast Solar hope that this email finds you safe and healthy as we ride out the worst of this pandemic. Together, we are facing challenges that seemed impossible to imagine just a month ago. But we will, without a doubt, come out on the other side of this thing stronger and more resilient as a community.
While this pandemic has made us here at Northeast Solar reassess the way we do things, I am happy to say that we are still working to install solar all over the Pioneer Valley, and that’s important. Solar is a sustaining technology and it’s about a lot more than saving money on your electric bill. I make a living in the solar industry, so it would be fair to say I think about solar a lot, but today I find myself thinking about what sustainability is and all the different ways we sustain—ourselves, our relationships, our homes, our communities.
Yes, sustainability certainly means using fewer resources to ensure the health of our shared environment, but it can also mean being there for your community in ways that might be new to you; like checking in with a phone call to see if your neighbor is ok, using video chat to see the face of someone you love, or donating resources to organizations that are working overtime to bring food and medicine to people with inadequate resources. These acts sustain us in a grassroots way and the results can be revolutionary.
But let’s be real, this is really hard.
It’s hard when you can’t hug your best friend or visit your older relatives. Like you, my family and friends sustain me in ways nothing else can, and nothing brings me closer to the people I love most than a shared meal.
Earlier in the week, I shared a story that brought attention to some amazing organizations doing life-saving work in Western Massachusetts. They are:
- The Amherst Survival Center
- The Northampton Survival Center
- Just Roots Farm
- Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
Each of the above mentioned organizations have been working to tackle issues of food insecurity in the valley by doing their best to make healthy food available to less resourced families.
One overarching food accessibility champion in the Valley is the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. I reached out to them to see how Northeast Solar could help during the pandemic and was grateful to hear back from Jillian Morgan of the Food Bank.
Jillian told me in an email, “Our community is experiencing greater need due to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The Food Bank has mobilized to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have access to the nutritious food they need during this uncertain time. We remain committed to feeding our neighbors in need regardless of their circumstances.”
The Food Bank supplies 174 food pantries with fresh produce and other food items and demand has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic.
In a MassLive opinion piece, Food Bank Executive Director Andrew Morehouse (who I had the pleasure of walking with in Monte’s March this year) said, “Right now, we have enough food to distribute through our vast regional emergency food network. This is likely to change as the coronavirus persists. You can help by donating — every dollar you give provides four meals. We also have enough volunteers, but this is also likely to change. Please visit our website for updates: www.foodbankwma.org/volunteer”
I hope that each of you have had the chance to share more meals with the people you love while being more housebound than usual. I also hope that you will join me and the entire staff here at Northeast Solar in donating to the Food Bank so that others can enjoy that same security because we each have a role to play in sustaining our amazing community.