Daily Hampshire Gazette
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
(Published in print: Thursday, December 6, 2012)
With twice the space, an 80-seat dining room and enough room for a free medical clinic, the new Amherst Survival Center is a vast improvement over its former cramped quarters at 1200 North Pleasant St., where it operated for 34 years. The new 6,000-square-foot center at 138 Sunderland Road just north of the center of North Amherst, will provide free lunches, groceries, housewares and medical care to some 4,000 low-income people each year.
On Monday, the first day the nonprofit center opened its doors to the public, Jan Eidelson, president of its board, expressed satisfaction in the completion of three-year project: “We built this building and it’s becoming a home.”
From the start, the center’s construction was a townwide effort. Organizers raised $2.5 million in donations from some 600 people, businesses and foundations, of which $1.5 million will be used to cover building costs. With an initial 2015 finish date, the project came in ahead of schedule, in part, due to the support it garnered from a range of professionals and community members, including local developers, real estate experts and former city planners.