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The Amherst Survival Center Welcomes You

Amherst Survival CenterThe Amherst Survival Center welcomes everyone to enjoy our Hot Lunch, Fresh Food Distribution, Free Medical Clinic, Community (free) Store—and our Community Center/Volunteer Program.

You will find us open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 3 pm, except Thursdays when we stay open until 7 pm. Free Hot Lunch is served from noon to 1 pm, prepared by volunteers in our kitchen. We are closed Wednesdays.

Our Food Pantry and Free Store are open on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 9:30am-11:30am (no lunch served or other services on these days). Upcoming 2014 dates for these special hours are: Saturday mornings: December 20,  2014; January 24, 2015; February 21, 2015; March 21, 2015; April 18, 2015; May 16, 2015; June 20, 2015.

Our Fresh Food Distribution–vegetables, fruit and fresh baked goods—is available to everyone from 11 am to 3 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, and from 11 am to 7pm on Thursdays. Our Food Pantry—stocked with canned goods, meats, fish, dairy, and other perishables—is open to those who come to us from the following list of towns: Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield, Granby, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Deerfield, South Hadley, Sunderland, Ware and Whately. Read more about our programs and services

In the News

Community made the case for expanded PVTA service

By Mindy Domb (from the Amherst Bulletin, Friday, August 22, 2014)

AMHERST — As we prepare for the start of the new PVTA bus to the Amherst Survival Center on Sept. 2, we want to reaffirm our gratitude to the community for rallying in support of public transportation service to our building. We’re grateful that so many agree that providing public transportation to a local food pantry and nutrition program is a no-brainer, an essential component of our community’s anti-hunger tool kit.

Every day, more and more individuals and families come to the Amherst Survival Center using public transportation so they can eat lunch, get their food pantry box, or visit the physician in our free health clinic.

The comments submitted by our participants, volunteers and friends helped to make the case for a bus stop at our new building on Sunderland Road. The work of the Amherst League of Women Voters, Know Your Neighbor group and the Amherst Human Service Network, combined with the advocacy of our state elected officials, both state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and state Rep. Ellen Story, amplified the support of our community.

The Bulletin’s reporting helped to inform the public about the need for public transportation in the area. And the efforts of Town Manager John Musante helped to ensure the bus stop became a reality.

We’re also indebted to our donors, the town of Amherst, the University of Massachusetts and the PVTA itself for helping to fund the interim public bus service that our visitors have used since October. And our thanks as well to our new friends at UMass Transit for making sure that our interim service occurred efficiently and expeditiously. We are grateful for their collaboration.

It took a village to create a new bus stop at the Amherst Survival Center. We know that every piece of advocacy helped to make this happen. And we’re grateful for it and for your continuing support.

Mindy Domb is executive director of the Amherst Survival Center.

Amherst Survival Center offers summer boost to low-income families facing food insecurity

From MassLive, July 01, 2014

AMHERST — The Amherst Survival Center is going the extra mile this summer to feed low-income families with school-age children.

The center’s new program, called “Kids SUMMER Boost,” is designed to address the food insecurity many families face with the loss of school-based meals in the summer months. The boost will provide extra helpings of child-friendly and nutritious food in July and August.

In preparation, the pantry has ordered 1,056 cans of tuna, 1,200 bags of raisins, 600-plus boxes of cereal, and other family-friendly items.

The program will provide the equivalent of six additional meals to over 600 children, according to ASC Pantry Coordinator Shelly Beck, and help close the “meal gap” that can occur during school vacations.

Beck said when families come in for their BOOST foods, they’ll have a chance to learn about the center’s other services, including hot lunch, the free store, fresh food distribution and the free health clinic. [Read More…]

think progress

How The Tens Of Millions Of Kids Who Rely On School For Food Get Fed During Summer Break

From thinkprogress.org

More than 30 million children in low-income households rely on the free or reduced-price school meals program for their nutritional needs, but when the school year ends their lives can be thrown into disarray. The current system for providing summer meals only serves about one fifteenth as many kids as rely on school-funded food during the academic year.

Caretakers must find a way to provide three times as many meals. “It’s hard enough during the school year, and in the summertime I really have to be extra careful,” said Jean C. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I usually do, in the summertime, go without eating. My kids, no matter what, they eat.”

“They’ll ask me, ‘mommy why aren’t you eating?’ and I’ll say, ‘oh I’ll eat after you guys eat,’” she said, a member of Witnesses to Hunger. Ten-year-old Jeredan, Jean’s oldest, started to pick up on what was happening last summer. “He would get so upset and say, ‘Well if you’re not eating, I’m not gonna eat because that’s not fair if you don’t eat.’ He gets really worried when that happens.” Read More . . .

Editorial: Amherst Survival Center is Model of People Helping People

From the Amherst Bulletin,  November 14, 2013

Mindy Domb, a veteran human services worker, took over a gem of an operation at the Amherst Survival Center last summer and means for it to remain a model for helping people in need in an efficient, dignified way.

People in Amherst gave generously to build the center’s beautiful $2.5 million building, which opened a year ago, and to keep it going. And they freely share opinions, which Domb appAreciates. But as she said in an interview last week, she wants to hear from those who use the services first. We think that is a wise approach. She told a reporter the center works and she doesn’t want to break it.

The center offers a slew of services for free, with few questions asked — a freshly cooked meal four days a week, a daily giveaway of fruits, vegetables and baked goods, groceries distributed from a well-stocked pantry, computers and a washer and dryer to use, a “free store” with clothing and other items, exercise classes, assistance from social service workers and a monthly dinner concert.

It is impressive.

Two full-time staffers, including Domb, eight part-timers and 200 weekly volunteers make this happen. They deserve praise, including program director Tracey Levy, pantry coordinator Shelly Beck, kitchen chief Linda Brooks and free store manager Tim Kennedy.  Read more. . .

Free Clinics Still Needed to Fill Health Care Gaps

From nepr.net, May 9, 2014

stethoscopeMassachusetts has one of the highest rates of health insurance in the country, but that still leaves thousands of people who can’t afford the health care they need.

Dr. Sara Tischer is examining a 30 year-old named Kevin, who has come to this East Longmeadow clinic for a stubborn cold or flu or something that won’t go away.

‘When did all that start?’,” she asks, as she listens to his cough.

This is the first time Kevin has met Dr. Tischer — who’s volunteering here as part of her medical residency program. So she has to quickly get up to speed.

“Do you have a cough normally? ” she asks.  ”Any fevers, chills?”

After ruling out pneumonia, Tischer finds Kevin an asthma inhaler from their backroom stock of medications. When he leaves the office, there’s no mention of a bill, a copay, or of health insurance at all. Which is good, because he doesn’t have any.

“I’m in between jobs,” he says, “and it’s the only way I can get anything without losing every penny that I have left.” Read more. . .