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Senator Jo Comerford Helps Distribute Over 100 Thanksgiving Meals

Kathy Porrovecchio, Donna Giard, Senator Jo Comerford, Melissa Stetson, Leah Gibson, Kelly Giard, Kathie Rice, Hayley Bolton, and Marie Lennox distributed over 100 Thanksgiving meals supplied by LifePath at the Bernardston Senior Center on Monday.  Cars were circled around the block 15 minutes before meal distribution began.Kathy Porrovecchio, Donna Giard, Senator Jo Comerford, Melissa Stetson, Leah Gibson, Kelly Giard, Kathie Rice, Hayley Bolton, and Marie Lennox distributed over 100 Thanksgiving meals supplied by LifePath at the Bernardston Senior Center on Monday. Cars were circled around the block 15 minutes before meal distribution began.Bernardston and Greenfield, MA—Senator Jo Comerford visited the Bernardston Senior Center on November 23, 2020 to help volunteers distribute over 100 Thanksgiving meals supplied by LifePath.  Cars were circled around the block 15 minutes before meal distribution began.

Hayley Bolton, Bernardston Senior Center and COA Director, said, “It's a community effort. We're really thankful to see the outpouring of support. It is a really difficult time so anything that we can do to make that easier, the senior center is happy to do.”

"I'm just once again really grateful to LifePath and grateful to the volunteers.”

After helping to distribute the meals, Senator Jo Comerford reflected on what she witnessed: “LifePath creates the structure and then people like we saw today volunteer in that structure, as well as LifePath and senior center staff.  So, it's extraordinary, especially this year with Thanksgiving.  You know, the need with COVID and the economic crisis is so acute, and then you layer on the complexities of the holiday. It's great to know for all of us that organizations like LifePath are on the front line with our community.”

Senator Jo Comerford distributing one of LifePath’s Thanksgiving meals at the Bernardston Senior Center.Senator Jo Comerford distributing one of LifePath’s Thanksgiving meals at the Bernardston Senior Center.Donna Giard and Kathy Porrovecchio, volunteers at the Bernardston Senior Center, bag-up pre-prepared meal items from LifePath’s caterer for distribution to the participants of the “Grab n’ Go” lunches 5 days a week. States Kathy, “It's fun to be able to help.  Yeah.  Gets me out of the house.  The Bernardston Senior Center is a pillar of the community. I'm biased but I think that's true.”

According to Hayley, “We serve the LifePath ‘Grab n’ Go’ meal Monday through Friday.  Right now we average about 25 people a day.  We usually deliver one or two of those meals.  Currently the senior center is doing two Zoom exercise classes, Enhanced Fitness and Healthy Bones & Balance.  We hold a monthly foot clinic, serving about 11 people per month.  We participate in Brown Bag food distribution to 49 households. The outreach team makes over 200 wellness calls a month.  However, our biggest program is our monthly Pop-Up Pantry.  Last Wednesday we served 120 households and distributed over 3,300 pounds of food! Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we're still a very active senior center.  This pandemic has made life very difficult for all of us, but the feedback we receive from our seniors is that they feel taken care of—like someone is looking out for them.  They can rely on the senior center if they need help.”

The line of cars waiting for their Thanksgiving meals outside the Bernardston Senior Center.The line of cars waiting for their Thanksgiving meals outside the Bernardston Senior Center.LifePath also provided a CARES Act grant to the Bernardston Senior Center for a newsletter to ensure everyone knows about all the great programs.

After the meals had been distributed at the Bernardston Senior Center, Senator Jo Comerford also brought home delivered meals to Terry Arlin and Jeanne Dodge at Elm Terrace Apartments in Greenfield.  

Terry Arlin receiving her home delivered meal from Senator Jo Comerford.Terry Arlin receiving her home delivered meal from Senator Jo Comerford.After receiving her meal from the Senator, Terry talked about how she gives back to her community:  “I cook soups and stuff and I give some to my neighbors so I can try to make them feel good.  And they do the same thing for me—it makes the world go round.”

When asked how old she was, Jeanne Dodge, a proud member of LifePath’s Rainbow Elders LGBTIQA+ group, stated she was 68 but that she has a new age because she had a stem cell transplant.  “In January I’ll be three,” said Jeanne.

Jeanne Dodge receiving her Home Delivered Meal from Senator Jo Comerford.Jeanne Dodge receiving her Home Delivered Meal from Senator Jo Comerford.Senator Jo Comerford reflected on her day of service, saying “I'm reminded of the importance of LifePath’s work and the breadth and depth of your efforts. The breadth in terms of just the sheer numbers of sites that you manage and coordinate with, and then the reach of those sites.  And then in interactions like today with the people at Bernardston, and here in Greenfield, I'm just reminded of the depth of connection that people have. What we see here is that when we're able to give, it just ripples out in  immeasurable ways.  I'm just once again really grateful to LifePath and grateful to the volunteers.”