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The Trocks perform "The Dying Swan"Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will share their passion for dance

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or “The Trocks,” have taken a playful approach to classical ballet since 1974. An all-male company, the Trocks have reveled in playing with gender roles and identity over the last 40+ years. One part parody and one part loving homage, The Trocks simultaneously honor the traditions of ballet with high-level performance while also poking fun at the conventions that define ballet. They will be coming to the area in preparation for a performance at the UMass Fine Arts Center on Tuesday, April 2, and have added a community workshop and dinner specifically for local LGBT elders while they are here.

Hillary Rathbun of the UMass Fine Arts Center (FAC) helped make the connection between the Trocks and Rainbow Elders. “When the FAC learned about the strong LGBT elder community here in the Pioneer Valley, we asked the Trocks if they would hold a workshop and dinner with the community, to be led by the Trockadero's ballet master. LifePath’s Rainbow Elders was the perfect group to facilitate the workshop.”

On Monday, April 1, The Trocks’ Raffaele Morra, Ballet Master, will lead a movement workshop with a ballet flavor. Dance training is not necessary, but participants should be willing to do their best to move around. Frequent breaks will be given and seating will be available for observers. Please wear comfortable clothing that will allow movement to the floor and back up. The Trocks’ version of Anna Pavlova’s 1905 dance “The Swan” will be taught -- a piece of dance history with a comic touch!

Following the workshop, please join us for a community dinner with Mr. Morra (attendance at workshop not necessary).

All attendees of the workshop or dinner will also be invited to the concert on Tuesday, April 2, 7:30 p.m. at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, as special guests of the Trocks!

Space is limited! Click here to register, or call 413-773-5555 x1242.

There is no charge for this event, but donations are welcome and will be used to cover expenses for this and future Rainbow Elders events. The workshop and dinner are funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies. LifePath also thanks Rockridge Retirement Communities, The Arbors, University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, and host Greenfield Senior Center for their support of this event.

LGBTIQA : L=Lesbian, G=Gay, B=Bisexual, T=Transgender, I=Intersex, Q=Questioning and Queer, A = Asexual, Aromantic, Agender, and Allies

Meet Meals on Wheels Driver Jane Dutcher

Bev Jane 1Jane Dutcher arrives with a hot meal for Bev Gale, sharing a warm smile between them.On an early winter’s day, Jane Dutcher of Bernardston heads out to a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver pickup point to collect several electric thermal bags of hot, prepared meals and coolers filled with cold milk and bread. She packs up her car to deliver each meal to an elder on her route that winds through the main drags and back roads of Gill, Northfield, and Bernardston, sometimes dipping into the edges of Leyden and Greenfield.

Jane has been a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program at LifePath for over 15 years. After raising four children with her husband and retiring from a career as a computer programmer, Jane got started with the encouragement of another volunteer driver. “I remarked in front of the wrong person that I had to find something to do,” she says, “that staying home and not having an occupation wasn't my forte, and that person worked on me to volunteer to drive.”

Jane generally sees between eight and 23 people on her route. “The number goes up and down,” she says. “Some people are on because they had a surgery and they need the service until they get their strength back and are able to do things for themselves again. Some people are not ever going to get off that way. Some people leave because they go to a nursing home.”

These past 15 years, one constant in Jane’s weekly service has been the smiling face of Bev Gale of Bernardston. When Jane arrives at Bev’s house, Bev’s daughter opens the door to usher her in. Bev sees Jane, and the warmth of the connection between them fills the front room where Bev sits in her wheelchair. “I love her,” says Bev. “She’s so smart.”

Bev Jane 2Jane hands Bev a meal that is still hot from the kitchen and a cold pack with bread and milk.“She likes the lasagna, but she loves Jane,” Bev’s daughter chimes in. “It's nice that mom gets a hot meal, and she has a friend. [Jane] brings a smile to her face.”

Bev, in her 80s now, says she was about 40 when she got the wheelchair. In time she also became involved with Franklin County Home Care (now called LifePath), so that when her home health aide could no longer be there for lunchtime, Bev was able to sign up to receive Meals on Wheels five days a week. Jane is her driver on two of those days.

“On the days that Jane comes,” says Bev’s daughter, “I know that I can go to Greenfield and not hurry, because [I] know that Jane's going to come and bring Mom her meal and she will tell my dogs to be quiet, so I don't worry. I can get down there and back and don't rush.”

Many volunteer drivers find meaning in knowing that for many of the people on their route, the driver may be the only person they see that day - or even that week. Jane says she also finds “the fact that I'm not afraid of their dog or their cat means a lot to them.”

Bev Jane 3Jane always takes a moment to check in with Bev, who looks forward to Jane's visits each week.Bev has three dogs. “Two chihuahuas,” she says, “Leroy and Winnie.” Emma, a good old girl, is a beagle and sheltie mix. Bev also fills her time with reading detective novels, browsing the internet, and putting puzzles together. “I'll go for 500 [pieces]. But I'm thinking about a thousand.”

“We don't do no more thousand-piece puzzles, do we?” says Bev’s daughter. “Sometimes we do.”

“Sometimes we put them back in the box!” says Bev.

The three women laugh together before Jane heads back out and onto her next stop.


A light snow is falling as Jane pulls up to the house where Janet Ross lives. She knocks on the teal-colored door, calling out, “Meals on Wheels!”

Jane at JanetsJane arrives at Janet Ross's house with a hot meal and some time to chat. Janet, in her 60s and wearing a big smile and a purple sweater adorned with snowflakes, opens the door with a warm welcome for Jane. A small, orange-and-white tabby cat sits perched up on a spiral staircase, watching the interaction from a distance.

Jane hands over the meal, which Janet places on her purple walker, and the two women walk into the window-filled dining room to sit down and talk for a bit.

“Every week she comes, knock, knock, knock, knock, ‘Meals on Wheels!’” says Janet. “[Jane] says it loud enough so I know who it is, and always to make sure I'm okay.”

Sitting in the home that belongs to her son, Janet shares that she and her husband have lived here for a few years. When her son invited his parents to move into the spare bedroom, Janet says, “It worked out perfectly, because my rent was going up at the time. My husband was already working seven days a week, and I said, ‘You know what? We don't need this anymore.’”

After 40 years running their own printing business - “from beginning to end, from taking the order, designing it, typesetting it, making the plates and negatives, and my husband would put it on the press; then we would take it, jog it all down, make pads or whatever we had to do, business cards, box it, ship it out” - the couple sold the company and moved from the south coast of Rhode Island to Franklin County, Massachusetts.

Jane Janet 1Inside the warm home and out of the lightly falling snow, Jane hands off the hot meal to Janet.“My caseworker Therese from LifePath came over here,” says Janet, “and she said, according to my income, my age, my disability, that I was eligible for Meals on Wheels and a couple of other things, too. So I grabbed it.”

Janet enjoys the meals. “I'm very thankful because it's always a balanced meal. I would not normally eat like that. Every day is a new, healthy meal.”

Even more so than the meals, Janet says she is impressed with how the drivers show their concern for her wellbeing. “With Jane and with all the people who deliver, they're not just concerned about my health, that I fall down on the ground or something like that, [but] even my mental state, talking to me, ‘How's everything going with you?’ She always drums up a story to make me talk back. I think she wants to see if I'm with it or not.”

Jane Janet 2Janet and Jane share some conversation and laughter before Jane heads back out and on the road with her Meals on Wheels deliveries.Living with family, Janet has others she can rely on, but she knows that not everyone has the same level of support. “My daughters call me every day. I have people to talk to. [Some] people have nobody to talk to. She goes in and that must mean the world to them, just having somebody to talk to, you know? I appreciate it.”

Personally, what she gets out of it as a volunteer, says Jane, is “just the pleasure of knowing that it helps.”

If you’d like to support the Meals on Wheels program at LifePath by giving your time as a volunteer, contact us at 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259, or visit LifePathMA.org/MealsonWheels.

The 2019 Meals on Wheels Walkathon is a great way to support Meals on Wheels! This community event is set to take place on Saturday, April 27, from 8:30 to 11 a.m., outside LifePath’s main office on the grounds of the Greenfield Corporate Center (101 Munson Street, Greenfield, Mass.). To learn more, make a gift, or sign up as a walker, call Carol Foote, Development Director, at 413-773-5555 x2225 or 978-544-2259 x2225, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or click here.

MOW Walkathon banner 2019

Carol Foote Headshot July 2018Carol Foote

March 2019 MOW Walkathon Concert Wrap Up photoThe Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) benefit concert for Meals on Wheels on Sunday, February 18, was a great success!

The fun factor was ratcheted up as the NMH student musicians kept concert attendees guessing and each selection gave more reason for delight. Wistful violins? Boisterous winds? Staccato samba? A Motown medley? The Flintstones theme? Percussion by tap shoe? Yep, Sunday’s concert truly had something for everyone.

Thank you to those at NMH - the student musicians, Steve Bathory-Peeler, Ron Smith, Sue Rhenow, and Susan Podlenski - who, for 15 years, have made space for LifePath and those we serve by hosting this concert to benefit our Meals on Wheels program. And special thanks to the supporters who helped to raise $859 that will directly impact elders in our community. We are so grateful.

If you regretfully weren’t able to be with us, we have good news! We have uploaded a short video featuring clips of songs from the concert to our Facebook page; have a listen!

If you wish to support LifePath’s Meals on Wheels program, please give online or send your gift to: LifePath, 101 Munson Street, Suite 201, Greenfield, MA 01301.

Finally, remember to save the date for this year’s Meals on Wheels Walkathon, scheduled for Saturday, April 27 from 8:30 am to 11 am! Learn more about becoming a walker, donating, or becoming a sponsor.

Karen Lentner head shotNutritionist Karen LentnerDid you know that inflammation is more than a swollen ankle or a cut finger after a fall or injury? Inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, can be far more serious and may be the cause of serious health issues including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and more.

There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic:

Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation often occurs after an infection or injury, such as a sprained ankle or redness in the skin caused by a scrape or cut. It’s a healthy, natural process that helps your body heal.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is long-term and persistent, often occurring in conditions including arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Foods, stress, and chemicals may also be a cause of inflammation.

What are signs of chronic inflammation?
Signs of chronic inflammation include:
  • chronic fatigue
  • high blood glucose levels
  • gum disease
  • allergies
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • joint pain or stiffness
  • reddened, blotchy skin associated with eczema or psoriasis
  • digestive problems including gas, bloating, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or constipation

Obesity or excess fat around your waist may be a sign of inflammation in your gut.

Since chronic inflammation can contribute to health issues, what can we do to decrease it?

One of the most powerful ways to fight inflammation is by DIET – avoiding common inflammatory foods, and adding anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. These foods help fight inflammation and nourish your body to keep you healthy.

Foods that fight inflammation – INCLUDE plenty of these in your diet:
  • Green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, chard, and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
  • Fruits: including berries, oranges, cherries.
  • Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
  • Healthy fats: including olive oil, coconut, walnut and hazelnut oils, and avocado.
  • High fiber foods: whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans (legumes).
  • Probiotics and fermented foods: including yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso. Check labels to make sure they contain live organisms that help restore gut health and reduce inflammation.
  • Teas: including white, green, and oolong, which have antioxidants that may reduce inflammation.
  • Herbs and spices: including turmeric, curry, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, basil, rosemary, and thyme: use these seasonings generously.
Foods to avoid that may promote inflammation – try to AVOID:
  • Refined carbohydrates, sugars: including white bread, pastries, donuts; and for some people, avoiding gluten is helpful.
  • Processed meats: hot dogs, sausage, kielbasa, and red meat (burgers, steaks).
  • Soda, other sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Fried foods, lard, shortening.

For an overall healthy diet that helps reduce inflammation, consider the Mediterranean diet as it’s rich in fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy oils. Consider eating less processed and more natural foods as these may improve your physical and emotional health and your overall quality of life. Exercise daily, get enough sleep, consider yoga or mindfulness to reduce stress, and maintain a healthy weight.

Consider joining us for a healthy meal at one of our dining centers or call LifePath to set up Meals on Wheels at 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259.

Volunteer with Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Next free training: March 27, 28, and 29, 2019, Springfield, Mass.

Sept 2017 AVS Linda Ackerman Ombudsman Volunteer photo WEBLinda Ackerman, volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman, visits with Richard Boyle, a resident of a local a nursing facility.In just a few hours each week, you can make a big difference in the lives of residents of local nursing facilities and rest homes. By slowing down and really listening to a resident’s concerns, you can find joy in ensuring the residents you speak with have a high quality of care and quality of life.

Interested volunteers must successfully complete the application process, which includes a criminal offence record check (CORI), reference checks, and an interview with the program director, before attending the training. Volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage to and from the facility to which they are assigned. Ongoing support is provided.

For more information or to apply, click here or contact Trevor Boeding, program director, at 413-773-5555 x2241, 978-544-2259 x2241, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteer with Benefits Counseling

Training is ongoing

Benefits counselors with LifePath are volunteers who assist elders and people with disabilities with learning about the benefits to which they are entitled and filling out applications. Volunteer benefits counselors from all over Franklin County and the four Worcester County towns of Athol, Petersham, Phillipston, and Royalston in the North Quabbin help their neighbors access benefits programs offering assistance with home repair, weatherization, fuel assistance, disability modifications, foreclosure protection, utility discounts, and SNAP (food stamps). Usually meeting in an elder’s home or other setting of their choice, the counselors will work with an elder to assess their needs, explain what they can expect, help gather the necessary paperwork, and begin application processes.

For more information or to apply, click here or contact Laurie Deskavich at 413-773-5555 x2211, 978-544-2259 x2211, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why volunteer with LifePath?

Your life experiences and knowledge are invaluable and can make a difference in our community. Your time, no matter how small, can make a big difference.

The benefits of volunteering with LifePath are numerous:

  • We provide support and free training for volunteers on an ongoing basis.
  • As a volunteer, you will get to meet and connect with other volunteers in your chosen program.
  • Some programs provide free events and other ways to connect with colleagues during the year.
  • LifePath experts provide one-on-one guidance throughout your volunteer experience.
  • Some programs offer mileage reimbursement.

Additional volunteer opportunities are available. Contact us to learn more.