According to our files, the Amherst Survival Center started in Jane Holappa’s basement in 1976 with a clothing exchange and a hot meal. Jane, and her successor, Vangie Wescott, developed an organization whose philosophy lives on, 40 years later.
Former Board President, Jan Eidelson, described this philosophy in the Center’s capital campaign brochure. She wrote:
“Jane’s vision and Vangie’s creation were rooted in the belief that no one in our community should have to struggle in isolation for daily survival. They understood that invisibility is perhaps the greatest pain inflicted by poverty. They also saw that many in our community, including those in need, wanted to help one another. With these insights, the Amherst Survival Center was established as a place where people can give and receive, and where every individual is treated with dignity.”
Forty years later, we’re entering our fifth year in a new building constructed by the community, continuing to embrace this philosophy in our daily programs, aspiring to provide a welcoming, safe and inclusive space for everyone.
In 2016, the Amherst Survival Center celebrated 40 years of supporting our neighbors. Since 1976, the Center has provided a welcoming space for the exchange of food, clothes, skills, knowledge, and friendship.
With the full assistance of Amherst Media, the following brief (5-minute) anniversary video was produced by the Center’s Development Coordinator, Lisa Queenin, to give you a sense of the Amherst Survival Center’s mission and philosophy.
We’ve created special anniversary playlists on Spotify. Hear the music that was playing when the Center was founded! If you create a playlist for our anniversary, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2016, we held several special events for our anniversary:
- Community Appreciation Breakfast in September 2016
FIGHTING HUNGER IN OUR KITCHENS AND IN OUR CONGRESS: A Community Conversation with Leanne Brown, author of Good & Cheap, Congressman Jim McGovern & Monte Belmonte in October 2016
40th Anniversary Dinner Dance in November 2016
OUR GRATITUDE TO OUR 40TH ANNIVERSARY PREMIER SPONSORS!