Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Receives Grant from The Home Depot FoundationDecember 9, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Dec. 9, 2010 -- The Springfield College AmeriCorps Program has received a 2010 Building Healthy Communities grant of $1,000 from The Home Depot Foundation to help support the building of kitchen tables for disadvantaged families in Springfield.
In The Kitchen Table Project, Springfield College AmeriCorps volunteers will construct five Shaker-style cherry tables from a design donated by Thomas Moser Cabinetmakers of Auburn, Maine. Leading the project will Springfield College AmeriCorps members Jaime-Lee Pellowe and Julia Godfrey, who are students in the college’s physician assistant program. Godfrey is also a nationally recognized woodworker.
According to Pellowe, “The kitchen table is both a symbol and a practical focal point for family unity, and family cohesiveness is critical to the physical and spiritual well being of all. By gifting local families with a piece of functional furniture, constructed to the highest standards of craftsmanship, we hope to help them to come together for healthy meals, games, homework and conversation.”
Participating families will be chosen in collaboration with HAP Housing. With each table will be a tablecloth or place mats, ceramic plates, a healthy food cookbook, school supplies and a board game. Twenty other families who already have tables will each receive the supporting items.
The college plans to present the tables at a reception this spring for participating families, partner organizations and donors.
A wider goal is to extend this project into the future and to make it self-sustaining. “We hope to recruit Springfield-area furniture-makers to work with high school woodworking instructors and students to construct additional tables,” Godfrey said. “By securing long-term funding sources and materials donations, we envision the creation of a small non-profit business that could provide needed furniture to families in greater Springfield for years to come.
As part of their AmeriCorps commitment, the members are required to do two service projects. “The projects go above and beyond the service that the members provide each day at their sites, explained Shannon Langone, director of the Springfield College AmeriCorps Program. We encourage members to develop projects that utilize their strengths and skills to address community needs, and The Kitchen Table project is a wonderful example of that.”
The Springfield College AmeriCorps program combines undergraduate and graduate student education with meeting community needs. Participating students provide services in health and in-school counseling and case management, academic coaching, youth leadership development, and volunteer recruitment and management. They serve at public schools, health care facilities, and other community-based organizations. AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance and, upon completion of their service, an education award that can be applied toward future tuition or qualified student loans. The program is supported in part by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National and Community Service.