Tag Archives: Monique Bosch

Thanksgiving Feast Is On The Marc

It’s one of Westport’s greatest traditions: the Community Thanksgiving Day Feast.

For decades, it’s happened organically. Members of the sponsoring Saugatuck Congregational Church — and many others — sign up to bring food, or help elsewhere. Over 200 people show up, alone and with families. There’s music, fellowship and fun.

Every year, many hands help create Westport’s Community Thanksgiving Feast.

Sometimes there are tweaks. Sign-up Genius now makes it easier to assign tasks. When a fire rendered Saugatuck Church unusable, Christ & Holy Trinity stepped into the breach.

Last year brought a big change. Marc Weber and Anthony Miami took over the turkeys.

Plus the stuffing, gravy, potatoes, salads, vegetables, desserts — everything about the meal from, well, soup to nuts.

They were not simply volunteers. Weber owns OnTheMarc Catering. Miami is executive chef of the Inn at Longshore.

These guys are pros.

Marc Weber

Five years ago Weber — a Culinary Institute of America graduate who began as a private chef, then grew his business to include clients like the Warehouse at FTC, Audubon Greenwich and Hudson Loft — partnered with the Longshore Inn.

He works all over Fairfield County, Westchester and New York City. But he lives in Westport.

And he wants to give back.

He’s on the board of an organization that helps local families find volunteer opportunities. At Longshore, he works with non-profits like Sunrise Rotary and Tiny Miracles.

His mother — a philanthropic adviser — emphasized the importance of “skills-based” volunteerism: contributing not just money, but talent and expertise.

Last year for the first time, Dan Levinson and Monique Bosch of Main Street Resources coordinated Westport’s Thanksgiving Feast. They asked Weber to help. He and Miami fed nearly 300 people, at very low cost.

“We know how to do it,” Weber says simply.

This year (Thursday, November 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), they’ll do it again.

Once again, they’re doing it gladly.

“I was so impressed by the number of families who volunteered,” Weber says of last year’s event. The first selectman helped serve. High school kids transported food from the Inn.”

That’s right: Now, the food is cooked off-site. It’s a big step up from the former potluck-type planning.

The annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Feast draws hundreds of people.

Of course, Weber and Miami can’t do it all alone. Westport Rotary, the Senior Center, Gillespie Center, Homes with Hope, the Unitarian Church, United Methodist Church, Bedford Middle School and Coleytown Elementary School all participate.

So do over 80 volunteers. They decorate, set up, greet, serve, clean up, even drive attendees who need transportation.

Monique and Dan hope for the usual donations of turkeys from Stew Leonard’s, pies from Temple Israel,  bread from Sono Bakery and s’mores from Westport Boy Scouts. Other generous donations traditionally include floral arrangements from Westport Garden Club and greeting cards from Coleytown Middle School,

Somehow, it all comes together. It’s a true community feast.

But now the turkey and trimmings are prepared by true pros.

(To volunteer at Westport’s Community Thanksgiving Day Feast, click here. If you need a ride, call the Saugatuck Church: 203-227-1261. For more information, call Monique Bosch: 203-858-8829.)

GVI Expands Beyond Its Roots

Remember the Green Village Initiative?

Ten years ago Dan Levinson, Monique Bosch and a group of passionate Westporters founded the organization. They restored the Wakeman Town Farm and Sustainability Center, established edible gardens in schools, and launched a film and lecture series throughout Fairfield County.

Today WTF is thriving. The schools gardens in Bridgeport used lesson plans created by Sacred Heart University that tie into the curriculum.

GVI got its start at Wakeman Town Farm.

And 10 years later, GVI is now Bridgeport-based. Its mission is more focused: to grow food, knowledge, leadership and community through urban gardening and farming, creating a more just food system.

GVI believes that economic development is fostered when a community has the ability to grow, sell and purchase the food it chooses to, conveniently.

With 3 full-time employees, paid interns and summer Bridgeport student employees, GVI grows, sells and donates over 5,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce each year. More than 200 families grow their own food at community gardens, and 0ver 500 students seed, maintain and harvest their school gardens.

A new Urban Farmer Training Program — launched with the University of Connecticut — helps gardeners grow food. The group — including Westporter Cornelia Olsen — is now a vendor at Bridgeport farmers’ markets.

Other Westporters have worked hard to make this happen too. Every year hundreds rebuild and clean gardens, and farm with the GVI team.

Volunteers include Staples High School interns, Staples Service League of Boys (SLOBS) student and parents, and Builders Beyond Borders.

Westporters and Bridgeporters work together with GVI.

In addition, Westport League of Women voters members join GVI board member Pippa Bell Ader and her friends, coordinating annual Bridgeport elementary school trips to Reservoir Community Farm.

Those volunteers and supporters were honored the other day, at a party at Patagonia in Westport. Local law firms Cohen and Wolf and Berchem Moses were key sponsors.

Next up: a “Harvest Bits & Booze” fundraiser November 13 (6 to 9 p.m., Read’s Art Space, 1042 Broad Street, Bridgeport).

Trattoria ‘A Vucchella caters, with meat and vegetables from Connecticut farms. All proceeds go to GVI’s programs. Click here for tickets and more information.

A lot has blossomed over the past 10 years. Congratulations to GVI, as it celebrates a decade of growth!