Cambridge residents support their local community in many ways – they volunteer, donate to local non-profits, eat local food, and shop at local businesses.
In turn, many of those Cambridge Local First businesses support their local community by supporting non-profits like Food For Free, and they do so in many ways: some choose to sponsor our annual Party Under the Harvest Moon. Harvest Coop, Cambridge Brewing Company, and Cambridge Naturals hold in-store fund drives. And some hold unique events that combine fundraising with that larger goal of community building.
1369 Coffee House: free food for Food For Free
In January of 2013, for its 20th anniversary celebration, 1369 Coffeehouse didn’t charge for food and drink, but instead accepted donations on behalf of Food For Free and On the Rise, delighting patrons, prompting conversations, and raising awareness. The day ended with a party at the Middle East where the supporters of all three organizations joined together for music, dancing, eating, meeting new people, and learning about other wonderful community organizations.
Rendezvous in Central Square: a pre-Thanksgiving tradition
Similarly, every November for the past five years, Rendezvous in Central Square opens their restaurant for a Saturday afternoon. Rendezvous staff members donate their time, and Food For Free supporters and Rendezvous fans sit family-style to enjoy an absolutely delicious luncheon – the proceeds going, in full, to Food for Free. The funds raised are of tremendous benefit, but as valuable are the conversations that take place across the lunch table, where people who have never met, but share a love of good, healthy food and recognition of the importance of it, develop friendships and share their experiences.
Didriks: 5% adds up to a lot
We’re now going into our 6th year of having the benefit of Didriks February fundraiser, where 5% of all February sales – both in store and online – are donated to Food For Free. Again, the funds are significant and have a real and positive impact on the work we do, but the benefit doesn’t end there: Didriks kicks off the month with an in-store party where like-minded people gather over delicious local foods prepared by Season To Taste Catering and learn more about one another and the organizations they each support. Join us this year – Thursday February 6th, 5:30pm at Didriks – 190 Concord Ave.
Raising funds, building community
These events are more than just fundraisers – they are about building a stronger and more integrated community. They represent the spirit of Cambridge, the spirit I’ve seen at Food For Free, and the spirit of these organizations. They represent a shared belief that through community, and support of one another, we can build a city that is healthier and more vibrant for all of its residents.