Darlene Ellis, Former Kitchen Manager
“My proudest moment and favorite story is when one of our regular guests came in and asked if there would be enough food to feed an extra busload of people. I said, “We would always have enough.” Thank God we did!
I talked to a man about what his needs were, which was a learning experience and not something that I had dealt with at the food project before. His group of 17 men and women were stranded in North Adams; they had run out of gas and were eating out of dumpsters and had little to no clothing.. most didn’t even have shoes.
We had them come to the BFP. Our regular customers were more than a little put back by their appearance, and several came to report to me that they were not wearing shoes.
"They should not be allowed in the dining hall," they said.
I really had not anticipated this response from our regulars. I could have handled the situation differently, but I felt that these people deserved to be treated like any of our other guests and allowed them into the dining room to eat with everyone else.
When someone asked about their clothing or shoe situation, I asked them, “so I shouldn't feed them because they have no clothes or shoes?”
Some people disapproved, but I stood my ground and was happy to deliver this message to our people. “We don’t turn anyone away”.