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March 2, 2021
 
Treehouse Foundation Raises Funds while Helping Restaurants
Treehouse Foundation

January 14, 2021 — Challenged by the coronavirus pandemic to change course, the Treehouse Foundation, an Easthampton-based nonprofit that promotes an intergenerational approach to foster care, launched an innovative fundraiser to raise money to support its work – and 15 local restaurants hit hard by the pandemic and economic crises.

After only three months, according to the Treehouse Foundation, to date the Stir Up Some Love campaign has raised $50,000, split 50-50 between the foundation and the restaurants, which have been especially impacted by restrictions imposed to stem the pandemic.

The campaign is rooted in the shared experience of a great meal and close-knit community. It's a pay-per-view video series featuring 15 local chefs and food experts demonstrating their favorite recipes.

Viewers donate to watch episodes—or the entire season—and gain an insider view to chefs’ homes and restaurants. They learn to create an inviting dish, receive a downloadable recipe, and know they’re supporting two causes with one purchase.

The first around of “Stir Up Some Love Stimulus checks,” boosted by holiday season of e-gift card giving, went to the participating restaurants last month. In addition to t

he funds raised, individual and business underwriters donated $30,000 to cover production costs.

“As season one of the series wrapped up in December, we’re excited that people were choosing Stir Up Some Love e-gift cards for holiday gift giving," said Judy Cockerton, founder and executive director of Treehouse. "It’s a great way to keep dollars local, especially for restaurants during this really challenging winter."

Season Two is being planned now.

"Being a restaurant operator is always a humbling experience, and no more evident than during this pandemic," said Jeremy Werther, owner of Homestead. in Northampton. "Seeing our industry and community be able to support both ourselves, our friends, and this incredible Treehouse Foundation has been a shining light of positivity, community, and teamwork through some of the darkest times in our lives."

“Food is community and Stir Up Some Love helps us stand with our amazing restaurants during this pandemic,” siad Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.

“We believe that innovation defines us as a nonprofit that supports kids by creating intergenerational communities among older adults, foster adoptive families, and children and youth,” said Julie Kumble, Treehouse director of strategic partnerships and development. “The innovation that drives this fundraising campaign is aligned with the out-of-the-box way we like to do things,”

WRSI/The River personality, Monte Belmonte, promoted each episode every week on his morning radio show. “I was a big fan of the project before I even saw the first video. I had no idea that the videos would be so incredibly well-produced, like something you’d see on a network cooking show,” he said.

The 15 Pioneer Valley restaurants participating in the project include Galaxy, Coco & The Cellar Bar, Gypsy Apple Bistro, Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack, iCollective Chef Neftali Duran, Homestead, Ashfield Lake House, Small Oven Bakery, HighBrow, Mesa Verde, Belly of the Beast, Five Eyed Fox, Crave Food Truck, People’s Pint, and Good Stock Farm.

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