With 100 more people counting on a free meal, a reliable commercial stove is vital.
Now, the Berkshire Food Project has one.
“For a chef, it’s like getting a new car,” said Berkshire Food Project kitchen manager Bob Moses.
The Berkshire Food Project gives out thousands of free meals every year, both as hot lunches and often by sending food home with those in need of the extra assistance. It’s open to all every weekday in the First Congregational Church in North Adams.
The new stove comes thanks in large part to a donation by the Rotary Club of Williamstown (US, District 7890), the members of which volunteered on Tuesday by helping prepare and serve lunch.
The Rotary Club was looking for a cause this year and Jim Mahon — who is a member of the Rotary Club and longtime president of the Berkshire Food Project’s board of directors — had no trouble coming up with an idea.
“That stove was from 1994,” Mahon pointed out.
The Rotary Club was able to donate $3,000 to the Berkshire Food Project, enabling it to buy a $4,500 new commercial stove. Last year, the club donated new tables and chairs for the Berkshire Food Project’s dining room.
“We have a good relationship between the Berkshire Food Project and Rotary,” Mahon said.
The new stove has two more burners than the old stove, which was more than 25 years old.
“I was happy to see it go,” Moses said.
The old setup was so inconsistent that the Berkshire Food Project has even had to rely on the generosity of local businesses like Wild Oats and Olympic Pizza for help preparing meals in the past.
The pilot light would frequently go out at inopportune times.
“We had to lay on the floor and relight it,” said Valerie Schwarz, the Berkshire Food Project’s executive director.
With the new stove, she added, “it’s not such a struggle.”