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The Amherst Survival Center Welcomes You

ASC staffThe Amherst Survival Center welcomes everyone to enjoy our Hot Lunch, Fresh Food Distribution, Free Medical Clinic, 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, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, and December 20, 2014.

Our Fresh Food Distribution–vegetables, fruit and fresh baked goods—is available to everyone from 11 am to 3 pm on our days open. Our Food Pantry—stocked with canned goods, meats 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

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 . . .

Jim McGovern

Congressman McGovern speaks about the Amherst Survival Center

We were happy to be included – as a pit stop – in local radio personality Monte Belmonte’s 26 mile March (from Northampton to Greenfield) against hunger. We welcomed Monte, Congressman Jim McGovern, and Andrew Morehouse, Director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. While they were here, we gave Congressman McGovern paper plates with written messages on them. Authored by ASC participants and volunteers, these messages were expressions of their concerns about access to healthy food and food pantries, and the importance of the food stamp program.

This past week, we were even more excited and proud when we saw Congressman McGovern read these messages on the floor of the House of Representatives. By doing so, he gave Center participants a new audience: the United States Congress! Thank you to The Food Bank of Western MA for this great graphic, showing Congressman Jim McGovern’s recent address recapping his time on Monte’s March and reading plates given to him when he stopped at the Amherst Survival Center. Be sure to watch the video on YouTube.

We so appreciate Congressman McGovern for sharing the concerns of our participants and for giving all of us a voice in the U.S. Congress.

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. . .