This past Friday at Barrels there was a lot going on, as there always is. There were fresh turnips and leeks. New Barrels t-shirts to be folded and aprons to be hung up. Danielle (’15), one of the Colby volunteers modeled one for me. Since the new kitchen has been up and running since this past spring, Barrels comes out with fresh lunches every day, and a fresh salad bar, and it’s not just lettuce and tomatoes. Depending on the day there could be nuts, fruits, tofu, cheeses, olives, chicken salads, potato salads and more! Also today there was a Waterville Main Street manager’s meeting, which Barrels hosted in its downstairs, which they also share with Freshwater Arts. Fruits, breads and tuna salads were some of the options for the attendees. Usually on Fridays there’s a delivery from Black Crow Bakery of different breads–tuscan, sicilian, poppy seed wheat, peasant, olive, baguettes and more–but they’re on vacation this week. This is what Barrels deals with by buying from local businesses; sometimes they’re on vacation. But it’s definitely so worth it, so you know I’m looking forward to next week when they’re back. An upside to dealing with local farmers and bakers is getting to know them. While I was in volunteering, a woman came in who grows organic concord grapes. I helped her bring them in from her car, and she told me all about the jams and juices she’s making from this crop of grapes. Danielle and I divided them into quarts and pints, and maybe sampled a few. They were so good!

Barrels was also busy on Friday planning for some upcoming events in conjunction with Colby. This Sunday, they’re making dinner for Colby Hillel’s Sukkot celebration. And at the end of October, during Colby parents’ weekend, (Saturday, the 29th from 3-5) Barrels will be part of the Goldfarb Center’s Get Up Downtown initiative. Colby students and families are invited to come in and sample some foods and check out the crafts and foods on sale. It’s a great way to get off the hill and get to know the community of which we are a part! This is the second year this has happened, and last year this event was Barrels’ highest grossing day of the year. Hopefully Colby can help them have continued success.
There is so much I love about Barrels; the food, the art, the environment, the people with whom I volunteer, the people I meet from the greater Waterville community, and more. I always look forward to leaving the Colby campus for two hours a week to help out, and I feel great knowing that I’m supporting the local community and Maine businesses from all over the state. I truly believe in Barrels’ mission of improving the community, and I know that as a Colby student, my role on campus extends beyond Mayflower Hill. This is how I get involved.
-Rachel Frenkil, ’12, Barrel Volunteer Program Leader