MassBay Community College and Temple Beth Elohim’s TBE Table are celebrating the second anniversary of its impactful partnership, collaborating to address food insecurity among students. Since January 2022, TBE Table has cooked, packed, and delivered more than 3,757 delicious frozen meals to MassBay, assisting students by providing not only nourishment but also a sense of community support.
“As we reflect on the past two years, we are immensely grateful for the support and collaboration with TBE Table,” said MassBay Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, Liz Blumberg, Psy.D. “This innovative partnership exemplifies the positive impact that community-driven initiatives can have on addressing the challenges faced by students. Through this relationship, we are able to foster an environment of support, nourishment, and academic success for our students.”
Temple Beth Elohim is a Reform Jewish congregation in Wellesley of nearly 1300 families, and members modeled TBE Table after a program pioneered by Gary Arthur at the Village Church in Wellesley, with Gary’s support and guidance. Since August 2021, TBE Table, a volunteer-based initiative, has produced an estimated 700 meals monthly, distributing them to partner organizations across the Greater Boston area to combat food insecurity.
In the initial stages of the MassBay and TBE Table program, TBE Table took a measured approach to gauge student interest in meals. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with the program now delivering an impressive 240 meals to MassBay most months. During the first year of the partnership, TBE Table provided a total of 1,590 meals, and in the second year, an additional 2,167 meals were delivered, totaling an impressive 3,757 meals. This incredible endeavor would not be possible without the dedication of the TBE Table’s volunteers, who have collectively invested approximately 1,127 hands-on hours to ensure the success of this initiative. These selfless individuals have worked tirelessly, not only in the meal preparation and delivery but also in the essential administrative tasks that keep the program running seamlessly.
“I am so proud of the many members of our TBE community who continue to work hard to provide restaurant quality nutritious meals so that the students of MassBay can focus on their studies as they continue on their path to success,” said Temple Beth Elohim Rabbi Joel Sisenwine. “This program is closely aligned with our value of comforting and caring for our community. We wish for good health, contentment and academic success for the many students who benefit from this program.”
The diverse and delectable menus crafted by TBE Table have added a touch of culinary delight to MassBay students’ lives. Past menus have featured mouthwatering dishes such as chicken and vegetable skewers with romesco sauce and lentil-carrot pilaf, Asian-style noodles and tangy meatballs and fresh veggies, and harissa-honey popcorn chicken with roasted root vegetable lentil salad. The commitment to providing nutritious and appetizing options is evident in each thoughtfully curated menu. In celebration of Thanksgiving, TBE Table volunteers created Thanksgiving-themed frozen dinners for MassBay students. The festive meal included roasted chicken legs, roast potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, corn pudding, and garnishes of broccoli floret and cranberry relish.
“Students have reported that our partnership with TBE Table helps them make ends meet each week, enabling them to be able to have food while also paying for gas for their car, rent, and other essential expenses,” said MassBay Case Manager and Resource Specialist Marybeth Fletcher. “The students love the variety of the meals and the fresh ingredients, as well as the thought and care that is shown by the volunteers who pack the meals. All of our students that take part in this initiative are extremely thankful.”
This initiative was coordinated by MassBay’s Student Nourishment And Care Committee (SNACC), a group of staff, faculty, students, and community volunteers who are dedicated to eliminating basic need barriers that impede student success. This group was formed in 2015 after the College learned that a significant number of its students were hungry and unable to afford food. Since that time, SNACC has grown to include other basic needs initiatives to provide additional support to students in their pursuit of an education.
One student reported, “I love that Massbay has this program. I previously studied at a four-year university before coming to MassBay and they did not offer close to the same resources offered here. These meals are really helpful, and I never expected that MassBay would have something like this. Please thank TBE Table for the meals for the students here. It is very much appreciated.”
MassBay students on the College’s Framingham campus will continue to have access to frozen meals provided by Framingham-based Daniel’s Table. For more information about the MassBay Meals by TBE Table program or SNACC, please contact the MassBay Student Development Office at email@example.com.