Quellas host Hotchkiss Library of Sharon gala

James and Linda Quella hosted the spring gala at their estate in Sharon.

Alexander Wilburn

Quellas host Hotchkiss Library of Sharon gala

The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon held its annual spring gala and auction on Saturday, May 18, at the Sharon home of James and Linda Quella, best known in the area for their family-run poultry farm, Q Farms, where they humanely raise chickens in their pastures.

The spring gala is a major event each year for the library to raise funds for its annual budgeting cost, explained Hotchkiss Library Director Gretchen Hachmeister. “We raise about 65% of our annual operating budget just through fundraising events. We get about 25% from the town and the rest, some grants, and then the rest is fundraising. The general budget supports just opening the doors and helping us do everything we do.”

Silent auction items at the gala included a handcrafted dinnerware set by DBO Home in Sharon — which has provided dining wear to restaurants like ABC Kitchen and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, and Troutbeck in Amenia — as well as art by Patty Mullins and the late Cleve Gray, and a dahlia subscription provided by English Garden Grown in Salisbury. Also notable was a throw woven with wool collected from Hachmeister’s own Shetland sheep she raises.

“We are passionate about community and community is about people and bringing people together,” James Quella said on hosting this year’s library gala. “Mission-driven is a way a community can be brought together. The mission here is that Hotchkiss Library is a community center. It’s a place where the community can gather, learn, educate themselves, educate others, and provide a way station for people who don’t have internet connectivity. A place to reach out to members of the community who may not feel welcome, and we want everyone in our community to feel welcome. [My wife,] Linda is on the library’s board, and her mission to join the board was to create that kind of sense of community. To have everyone here at our house, to get connected, and to believe in the mission of The Hotchkiss Library, it’s ecstasy. It makes us happy. It’s not even a job.”

Hotchkiss Library Board of Directors member Linda Quella cited the sponsorship of Tri-Corner F.E.E.D. (Food, Equity, Education, and Distribution) as a major opportunity in partnering with the library. Founded by James and Linda Quella, Tri-Corner F.E.E.D. connects with farmers in communities experiencing food scarcity and provides resources, as well as allows farms to receive advance payments for their produce in order to secure a reliable flow of income. “Tri-Corner F.E.E.D. is about providing food security and food access for all members of our community. By sponsoring this event we wanted to raise awareness of our farming and agricultural community and make sure that all the food here at the gala is provided by the farmers that are in our community. We want people to understand and start having an awareness of the level of food security in the area. It’s one of the things that we hope to bring to some of the library programs”

For those unable to attend the spring gala but with interest in supporting The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon, Hachmeister said, “We welcome support of all kinds. We’ll be marching in Sharon’s Memorial Day parade, for example, to raise the profile of the library. If anyone would like to participate, they are welcome. Our annual appeal is also ongoing until Sunday, June 30. We welcome everybody at the library. We provide our services free of charge, but it costs us something to do that.”

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