It started with 50 sandwiches a week and an ambitious question: Is it possible to end hunger in a city the size of Framingham, Mass.? That is what David Blais asked nine years ago, when he founded Daniel’s Table, which supports local families and individuals in need, with a focus on locally-sourced, nutritious foods. Blais spoke to Upper School students and faculty at an April 4 Flex Block assembly organized by the Green Action Committee. His presentation highlighted the vast impact of food insecurity and the important role volunteers play in his organization’s success.
Blais experienced the stresses of food insecurity first hand, when a challenging childhood left him constantly worried about his next meal. That experience informed his work at Daniel’s Table, which has made a significant investment in software technology that helps identify the specific food needs of each client, so they get exactly what they need and no food is wasted. Clients receive high quality fruits, vegetables and protein, along with access to other services. Daniel’s Table also has a Community Freezer Program to provide instant access to food in places likes schools, community health centers, churches and social service agencies.
In addition to a small professional staff, Daniel’s Table is run by volunteers. They have 847 registered volunteers, with about 75 volunteers working each week, and 407 volunteer hours every month. C. Conca ’25 is one of those volunteers, and she introduced Blais at the assembly.
When looking to complete her hours for her 10th-grade community service requirement, Conca wanted a place that was local to her, so she would feel more connected to the community. “I was able to interact with individuals and families, and the most rewarding thing about my experience was knowing that the community is getting easy access to nutritious food every week,” she said. As a volunteer, Conca started with data entry, then moved onto sorting and labeling groceries. She handed out soup to clients for the food of the week, and worked at the craft table with children as well. “Everyone who volunteers comes in ready to do whatever they need,” Conca said.
Daniel’s Table is focused on finding solutions for food insecurity in urban areas, and is using creative solutions, financial investment, and technology to respond to a consistent and urgent need. After reporting somewhat sobering statistics about the problem (1 of 14 people in Massachusetts need food assistance), Blais shared a call to action with Upper School students:
“You are the next group that will have an opportunity to make change in this world.” At the end of the talk, several students gathered to ask follow-up questions and seek information about volunteering. One of the organization’s critical needs is bilingual volunteers, and one student immediately came forward with Portuguese language skills.
Photo: Daniel’s Table executive team member Sandra Montesino, C. Conca ’25 and Daniel’s Table founder David Blais