Harvest on Vine prior news items and reports

December Needs List


Our Thanksgiving Distribution took place on
Tuesday, November 22, 2022.
Thank you to all donors and volunteers whose generosity made it possible to bring Thanksgiving to so many Charlestown families.

Harvest on Vine Fundraiser
at The Brewer’s Fork – October 23

Last Sunday, Harvest on Vine emergency food pantry held a fundraiser at the Brewer’s Fork in Hayes Square. Our supporters donated more than $9,000 to feed the needy families of Charlestown. The Brewer’s Fork furnished the space and provided the food at no charge, so all the proceeds will go to Harvest on Vine. Thank you to the owners, Michael and Kari Cooney!

As part of the festivities, we recognized Sister Kathleen Carven with the Harvest on Vine Humanitarian of the Year award. Sister Kathleen has been volunteering at the food pantry for many years. She is our spiritual anchor.

Before each food distribution, Sister Kathleen offers an inspiring prayer that she writes specially for that day, setting the tone for a God-centered  happening. Her humility and compassion are contagious. We do our best to follow her example.

We are blessed to have Sister Kathleen in the pantry. Our clients love her. We all love her.

We at Harvest on Vine are grateful for your generosity. We are now getting ready for Thanksgiving, where we expect to give out roughly 550 turkey baskets with all the fixins’. We wish you a joyful holiday season.

photos courtesy of Donna LeCam

Harvest on Vine
by Tom MacDonald, September 2022

St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena’s Harvest on Vine emergency food pantry is entering its twentieth year of service. Twenty years ago the parish identified food insecurity as an issue in the neighborhood and started Harvest on Vine in response. The goal was to alleviate hunger in Charlestown. We began with seven families and a few volunteers. Today we have more than
six hundred families on our database and over a hundred volunteers. We distribute food twice a month, and we give out food throughout the week.
We never turn anyone away.
During the pandemic the need for food, toiletries, and other items skyrocketed. In response Harvest on Vine increased the amount of food we were giving out. Charlestown residents and organizations ran drives. Our religious-education students led a hugely successful effort to collect soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Our St. Vincent DePaul conference, in partnership with St. Francis De Sales’s conference, initiated an equally successful towel drive. Another impassioned supporter provided heavy duty shower curtains for our families. The list goes on.
We wore masks and gloves and moved the operation outside. Everyone adapted to the change, bundling up to weather the cold, ignoring wind and snow. We will continue to operate outside to maximize health safety for all.
Generous donors give us the means to provide fresh produce, meat, milk, cheese, and eggs at every distribution. Each month we give out tons of potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, bok choy, bananas, and other fruits and vegetables. We survey our clients and order food they like, usually cultural preferences. The Greater Boston Food Bank calls the neighborhood we serve a food desert. Most families don’t have transportation to drive
to supermarkets, and the stores within walking distance offer little fresh fare. We aim to bridge the food-desert gap.
Harvest on Vine is blessed to have ample product to distribute. We are doubly blessed to have committed and compassionate volunteers to give it out. The connection between the clients and the volunteers is palpable. These relationships have grown over the years.
God is at the center of this parish program. Sister Kathleen Carven begins each distribution with a prayer. The crux of her prayer is that we see the face of Christ in each person we encounter, and that we welcome each person with dignity and respect. Sister prays for oneness with the poor, for a bond between neighbors. She points out that hard luck can befall anybody. There but for the grace of God go I. We have more in common than we don’t.
We all want to provide food for our families. We all want to be loved and valued. This is Harvest on Vine’s hope, to promote a loving and accepting community. We are still learning how, and we always will be. The work is never done.