Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Helping Hand at Haley House

September is Hunger Action Month. Each week, Food Fighters will be posting features on some of the amazing organizations around the country fighting to make sure all Americans have access to fresh, healthy food. To learn more about, Hunger Action Month or how you can volunteer in your neighborhood, visit the Feeding America website or follow them on Twitter @FeedingAmerica or #HungerActionMonth.

Scattered across a neighborhood in the South End of Boston are a network of facilities under the name of Haley House.  Since 1966, this institution has been a house of hospitality for those transitioning out of homelessness, and, later, anyone faced with disenfranchisement. From housing to jobs to healthy meal preparation to revitalizing abandoned urban areas, Haley House has evolved with the community in which it exists. It is an excellent example of an organization that began by responding to an perceived need and adapted to new inequities as they became apparent.

Haley House organizes a variety of projects aimed at giving individuals who are struggling not a hand-out, but a hand up. Creating community is of the utmost importance in all Haley House does as is a marked desire in seeing people become self-sufficient.  Some of their outreach work includes:

  • Haley House Transitional Employment Program: A work experience program for those recently released from incarceration that focuses not just on training in the kitchen, bakery and catering enterprises, but predominately on life skills. The program teaches participants how to be successful in maintaining a job, home and finances and also in managing interpersonal relationships on a variety of levels.
  • Take Back the Kitchen: Works with urban students and some adults to learn basic healthy kitchen and nutritional skills. Participants have included charter schools, gang-resistance programs, anti-obesity clinics and college students among others.
  • Haley House Bakery&Cafe: A community cafe that helps to financially support Haley House's other missions.  The Cafe serves made-from-scratch food and fair trade products from a variety of ethnicities and often employs graduates of other Haley House programs. It is also a common spot for community gatherings and forums.
  • Food Program (Soup Kitchen and Pantry): Feeds the elderly, families and homeless who are in need.  The Soup Kitchen meals provide an intimate environment to eat in a community atmosphere. Meals are made with fresh produce from Noonday farm and place an emphasis on healthy, nourishing food.
  • Noonday Farm: A biodynamic farm that provides over 6,000 pounds of food per year to food banks and the Haley House kitchens.

To learn more about Haley House or how to contribute, visit here.

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