When eight members of the Williston Community Service Club recently volunteered to prepare and serve meals for those in need at Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke, one student learned something deeper about what it means to lack resources. Emily Yeager ’17 has been a member of the club since her freshman year and co-president since her sophomore year. “At Kate’s Kitchen, they are busiest at the end of the month,” she said. “People are typically paid early in the month and don’t come into the kitchen until the end of the month when the remainder of their paycheck can’t provide for them.”
As the day progressed and the simmering began, she also learned, “Sugar is a good addition to tomato sauce!”
Kate’s Kitchen is branch of Providence Ministries Network, whose mission is to feed, clothe, and house the poor of the Holyoke community. Its volunteers have served approximately one million meals since it was founded in 1980. Holyoke’s citizens face poverty at nearly three times the rate as those in the rest of the Commonwealth.
Kathleen M. Burke, director of community development, described Williston’s students as a “kind, selfless, energetic crew,” adding that they represented their school with flying colors.
Along with Emily, these students volunteered: Rachel Goodman ’20, Sahnet Ramirez ’20, Keyu Lu ’20, Jake Goodman ’19, Simon Kim ’19, Sarah Markey ’22, and Grace Quisenberry ’17.
The Community Service Club has more activities planned for the remainder of the year, according to Yeager. Between Thanksgiving and winter vacations, it will host its third annual food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. It will be running the food drive as a competition among grades, and the winning team will receive a dress-down day, a coveted prize at Williston.
“Once we return from winter break, the Community Service Club will volunteer in the local community,” Yeager said. “Typical volunteer trips are to the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, Riverside Industries in Easthampton, Habitat for Humanity, and the Easthampton Community Center.”
In the spring it will be running its second blood drive on the heels of a recent drive that drew 40 donors, enough to save 120 lives. “We are hoping to bring more opportunities to give back to the Williston community this year,” Yeager said.