Since 1976, the Amherst Survival Center has promoted the health and well being of residents of Franklin and Hampshire counties with a wide variety of programs designed to help people meet their basic needs. The Center serves over three thousand people each year. Our services, all of which are free, include a Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen, Drop-In Health Clinic, Free Store, and a variety of other supports.
The ASC provides a welcoming community where families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet can come for food, clothing, health care and for companionship and relief from isolation. People are here to share their material resources, information, concerns and frustrations. No one is turned away.
Volunteers are the backbone of the Survival Center. The Center’s 200 volunteers do everything from cooking and cleaning to providing medical care. The Center gets additional vital support from local businesses and faith communities who donate their time and resources. For more information about volunteering, click here.
A regional resource that strives to provide food, health, clothing and community through volunteer efforts.
A Little History
The Amherst Survival Center was started in 1976 in response to a growing phenomenon of homelessness and poverty in central Massachusetts. Increasing unemployment, cuts in welfare spending, and the closing of institutional state facilities with the subsequent transfer of residents into the community were major factors that contributed to this growing population. As they had historically, people in need turned to the local churches. The response was forthcoming, as had been in the past. But by 1975 the complexity and duration of the situation was apparent, and at a meeting at town hall the Survival Center was created in response to this need. Initially it consisted of a telephone and storage space in the basement of a house, thereafter moving to Jones Library. Five months later the Town of Amherst provided space in the brick school at North Amherst Center, where it exists today with a much-expanded program.