Community Servings’ Foodservice Job Training Program is New Takeout Option

Jamaica Plain nonprofit Community Servings' new foodservice job training program is a new takeout option offering seasonally-inspired entrees, soups, sides, and bakery items from scratch. Launched in July, Community Servings' Teaching Kitchen (TK), is a free, 12-week foodservice job training program for people facing significant barriers to employment, according to a press release. The meals are then available to purchase at Community Servings' campus at 179 Amory St. Program participants are trained by chef culinary instructor Eric Spitz, who works with trainees to prepare food, and formulate menus to introduce them to new foods, spices, and cooking techniques. Next week's menu features dishes like barbecue brisket with collards and baby potatoes, chicken cacciatore with mushroom risotto and broccoli, vegetarian hot and sour soup, kimchi cold noodle salad, and more. 

The program also sources fresh ingredients from local food partners.


Jamaica Plain Friends Raised Thousands for Bikes Not Bombs By Riding Across Iowa

Two Jamaica Plain neighbors raised thousands by participating in the seven-day Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). "I grew up in northeast Iowa and remember the first RAGBRAI. I thought it was kind of crazy but that some day I would try it. As this is the 50th anniversary of the Iowa ride, now is that time. I thought if I'm doing this, I should use this as a way to promote a worthy cause.


JP Nonprofit VOAMASS Receives $200,000+ in Grants to Benefit Veterans Services Work

Jamaica Plain-based Volunteers of America of Massachusetts (VOAMASS), a nonprofit that creates opportunities for individuals through residential and outpatient behavioral health treatment, re-entry for justice-involved individuals, veteran services and senior living, recently received two grants totaling more than $200,000 from The Home Depot Foundation for programs and projects at the Massachusetts Bay Veterans Center (MBVC) in Somerville. VOAMASS received a Veterans Flexible Funding grant of $150,159 to expand its Welcome Home Project, which helps veterans secure permanent housing and remain stably housed. The organization also received a Veterans Housing Grant of $51,292 to upgrade MBVC’s security and HVAC systems.

“Two of the biggest challenges homeless veterans face are finding housing and receiving comprehensive, trauma-informed behavioral health care,” said VOAMASS President and CEO Charles Gagnon. “These grants from The Home Depot Foundation will help ensure that MBVC is best positioned to provide the services and supports that our veterans deserve.”

The Welcome Home Project focuses on assisting veterans transitioning from MBVC into permanent housing by helping them obtain rental leases and household goods while accessing continued case management within the community. The grant funds will be used to create a veteran aid fund and hire a housing coordinator.


Shattuck Campus Redevelopment Virtual Meeting on Tuesday

There will be a virtual public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the state's proposal to redevelop the Shattuck campus to include new treatment beds, permanent supportive housing, family supportive housing and emergency housing beds, and more. The state had put out a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the campus located at 170 Morton St. at Franklin Park in Jamaica Plain, and received only one proposal. The state provisionally accepted the proposal of the Boston Medical Center (BMC) which includes two facilities with 326 treatment beds, 200 units of permanent supportive housing, 205 units of family supportive housing, 120 emergency housing beds, and seven-plus acres of green and open space. According to the state's website, the proposal is not a final plan.


Spontaneous Celebrations Receives $25,500 Grant for Solar Panels; Friday Fundraiser to Help Match Grant

Spontaneous Celebrations received a $25,500 grant to install solar panels on the roof of its Danforth Street community center, and needs help from the community to match the grant. The $25,500 is coming from a TernSOLAR challenge grant from the Tern Foundation. The Tern Foundation’s TernSOLAR challenge grant program's purpose is to expand renewable energy use in Massachusetts communities, and make solar technology more accessible to nonprofit organizations like Spontaneous Celebrations. Spontaneous Celebrations must match the grant, and is holding a Sol Fest fundraiser on Friday to help raise funds (please see flyer below for more info). The remaining cost of the project will utilize the Direct Pay 30% reimbursement provision of the newly implemented federal Inflation Reduction Act, according to a press release.


Want to Do Yoga on Jamaica Pond?

Iceskating on Jamaica Pond is not allowed, but doing yoga on the pond is a-okay. Yoga classes on the water using a paddle board are being offered on Sundays by local nonprofit Courageous Sailing. No experience is necessary (of water yoga, or yoga in general). The class starts low on the board (like belly on a paddle board), and they build from there, and do poses while standing up on the board. All equipment is provided.


Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Welcomes New Executive Director

Residents, families and staff members recently gathered together to meet Ren de Leon, the new executive director of the Jamaica Plain nonprofit Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “A drive and passion for senior care has propelled me to keep reaching for excellence,” said de Leon.” I can’t think of a better organization than ANRC to continue my career. I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of our families and residents.”


JP Nonprofit Community Servings to Open Satellite Meal Distribution Center

Community Servings, a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services, and a leader in “food is medicine” research, advocacy and policy, recently announced plans for a satellite distribution center in Mansfield. At the new distribution center, Community Servings will be able to efficiently reposition and expand meal packaging and delivery operations serving critically and chronically ill clients throughout the region south and west of Boston. Community Servings has finalized a long-term lease agreement for a 23,000-square-foot warehouse building in the Cabot Business Park located near the junction of interstates 95 and 495. The interior space will be renovated to accommodate Community Servings’ mission and is expected to begin operating this fall. “This new satellite location will enable us to more easily reach the individuals who depend on our nutritious meals through a more efficient packaging, shipping and delivery network,” said David B. Waters, CEO of Community Servings.


Photos: JP’s Rehearsal of Life Musical ‘Banned in Boston’

Jamaica Plain based nonprofit Rehearsal for Life held its new Banned in Boston musical live in Boston on April 27. Highlights included Governor Maura Healey performing live with Lee Pelton, Myechia Minter-Jordan, Chef Tiffani Faison, author Ben Mezrich, Chef Joanne Chang, Makeeba McCleary and many more with award winner Collin Knight and five students from Rehearsal for Life's Youth Unscripted program. The improv extravaganza raised more than $425,000 to support of Rehearsal for Life's social-emotional learning programming that annually serves more than 1,400 youth in Boston and beyond.  


Jamaica Plain Nonprofit Apprentice Learning’s Founder’s Successor is Familiar Face

Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit organization Apprentice Learning's founder and Executive Director Helen Russell will step down from her role this June. The planned transition takes place after a decade of leadership and growth, resulting in more than 1,300 8th graders in Boston Public Schools participating in apprenticeships with local businesses in Jamaica Plain and throughout Boston. “It’s been a privilege to lead Apprentice Learning these past 10 years,” Russell said. “While it’s difficult to leave this role and our incredible team, I want to let others have the joy of leading as we round into our second decade. Of course, I will always be an Apprentice Learning champion and ambassador!”

Apprentice Learning will celebrate its first decade and bid Russell farewell at its Decade of Career Dreams event on May 4, 2023 under a tent in the gardens at JP’s Loring Greenough House.