On Saturday morning, March 4, nearly 100 Winsor volunteers took part in the 18th annual Family Chop-a-thon at the Pine Street Inn. Together, volunteers chopped more than 1,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables, all donated by the Winsor community.
The contributions were put to immediate use by the Inn's kitchen, which prepares 1,600 meals for its guests every day.
"This is a special event because it involves whole Winsor families," said Regis Downes, director of dining services at Winsor. Every year, members of his FLIK food-service team jump in alongside parents, students, siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbors, and more. Winsor alumnae and faculty and staff were again part of the crew.
Jennifer Morgan Peterson '89, P'20, '22, Catherine Frankl Sarkis '82, P'23, and Jennifer Hughes P'20 organized this year's event for the Parents' Association. For everyone involved, "it gives us the opportunity to play a small role in helping a wonderful organization," notes Jennifer.
"The first year my four children participated, they were so moved by seeing the number of beds and all the men and women gathering inside on a frigid day with no where else to go," she recalls. "The experience really stuck with them."
Jennifer's not surprised that the event, while sponsored by the PA, draws alumnae volunteers as well. "It exemplifies the ideals of community service, participation and giving back that are ingrained in Winsor students during their formative years," she says.
Each Winsor class donated specific items, including not only staple vegetables but also fruit, a treat since it is generally too expensive to be offered regularly at the Inn.
By the end of the morning, volunteers had chopped hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit for fruit salad, celery and carrots for soups and stews, and enough onions to fill a 55-gallon container.
"It's significant that the work is done at the Inn, in the kitchen where the guests come to eat," adds Danielle Figueira, Winsor's constituent relations and events officer. "Being in the facility and taking the tour offers some real insight into the lifestyle of the Inn guests."
Winsor piloted the chop-a-thon with the Pine Street Inn back in 2000. Today, the evolved model offers a unique opportunity to engage volunteers in the donation process from start to finish.