Free community meal offered Dec. 26 on the Green

Gerson Nivar and his daughter Arianna will offer free hot meals to the community Dec. 26. (GERSON NIVAR PHOTO SUBMITTED)

WESTFIELD – Growing up, Gerson Nivar’s family showed their love and support with food, and now he wants to do the same.

Nivar’s Salt and Light Ministry is providing a free community meal Dec. 26 at the fountain in Park Square Green from 4-6 p.m.  All are welcome.

Nivar founded Salt and Light Ministry five years ago, an organization he started “to spread as much of the love of God as I could.”

Salt and Light Ministry aims to help those who are struggling, regardless of religion or situation.

“The organization came about after I overcame my struggles with addiction and mental illness – I’m five years clean and sober. God loved me when I was at my worst, so now that I am better, I just want to pay it forward. The food came about because I came from a cooking family and that’s how we show love and hospitality.”

Nivar said Westfield, as a community, has given him so much and he wants to give back.

“I graduated from Westfield State and that meant a lot to me because I was the first in my circle of close family to graduate college, I work in Westfield, and Westfield was the place where I got my first apartment after getting my life together,” he said.

Nivar and his 13-year-old daughter, Arianna, will be doing the cooking and distributing of the meals.

“We are also hoping to hand out fresh socks as well to those who need them. I know that sounds weird but I have been doing outreach to the homeless for some time now and realized that the most prized gift was always fresh socks so that always stuck with me,” he said. “The event is not specifically to the homeless, though. Anyone is welcome to enjoy a warm meal: Rich, poor, young, old, housed, homeless, well-groomed or not. If they’re hungry, I hope they come. If they’re not hungry at the moment and could use a meal at home, I hope they come.”

Nivar said this has been a rough year and he wants to help.

“I recognize that this year has been really hard on a lot of people and maybe they are in need of a good hot meal or maybe just need to be shown a little ‘no-strings attached’ love,” he said, “but my love of feeding folks stretches way back. I used to drive around Holyoke at night and hand out meals and now that I live and work in Westfield I want to contribute to my community here as well. Westfield has been showing me love for many years.”

Nivar said he will be cooking a lot of food and will hand out hot meals until they are gone. There is no pre-registration; just show up.



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