The recently announced partnership between Kinetic, the cooperative Wild Oats Market in Williamstown and the Berkshire Food Project is an exciting step forward for student outreach and involvement in the Berkshire community. Though the implementation of the “suspended coupon” program is still in the nascent phase, the Record would like to commend Kinetic for designing a practical and unique project that has the potential to make a positive change in the lives of people in the Berkshire region.
Kinetic must be diligent in how it markets and implements the suspended coupon program at Wild Oats. In particular, participation in the program should target and include not only students, but also other members of the College, as well as those of the the surrounding community. We at the Record urge Kinetic to initiate robust advertising and outreach as they launch the program in order to maximize its efficacy. In addition, we recommend that if it is initially successful, Kinetic work
to expand the program to other local stores, such as those in North Adams. It is important to recognize that while this program has the potential to be effective in a Williamstown cooperative, the vast socioeconomic range of the Berkshire area means that it could have an even greater impact if expanded throughout the region.
We at the Record applaud the suspended coupon program for its dual goals. First, the facilitation of an easy, concrete way to give at the checkout counter will not only heighten the College and Berkshire community’s awareness of food access issues, but will also likely make an immediate impact on those in need. In addition, the program will promote healthy eating,
coupons will be primarily applicable to perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables. This is a laudable aim, and one that we hope will make the program popular for both givers and recipients.
Finally, we at the Record encourage Kinetic to continue considering innovative ways in which Williams students can make a difference in the Berkshire community. Deepening connections with local organizations like the Berkshire Food Project is a step in the right direction. More advertising and outreach to the Williams student body — both for new members and new project suggestions — would also help Kinetic build upon the upcoming implementation of the suspended coupon program.