John Stifler: In gratitude

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

I continue to be impressed by how local businesses are finding ways to support the community in the midst of all the coronavirus constraints.

On a recent Saturday, the Hungry Ghost bakery in Northampton donated two large bags full of bread to Dine In/Help Out, this year’s socially distanced version of the annual wintertime soup-and-bread supper that serves as a fundraiser for the Haiti Ministry of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst.

Normally the supper is a lively party in the church’s parish hall. This year instead, drivers delivered quarts of soup, along with bread, cookies and muffins, to households from Belchertown to Williamsburg. In return, each at-home diner contributed to funds that support l’Ecole St. Matthieu, an elementary school in the farming community of Bayonnais, in northern Haiti. Money raised by this supper will help pay for new books for a long-anticipated library at the school and for a new kitchen to prepare the children’s daily lunches.

Members of the church’s Haiti committee made the soup; Jonathan Stevens and his crew at Hungry Ghost graciously provided the bread, which is as popular as the soup itself. On Saturday morning, with a line of customers stretching down the hill to State Street and workers inside scurrying to manage orders while checking the ovens, Jonathan made a quick, friendly handoff of the bags of bread and went back to the rest of the morning’s labors. His establishment is one of many that have raised their already high standards of performance to meet the heightened logistical demands of the pandemic — and is one more reason a lot of us are both delighted and proud to live here.

John Stifler