By NICK GRABBE Staff Writer
(Published in print: Tuesday, December 4, 2012)
AMHERST — Tom Devine came to the new Survival Center building for lunch on its first day Monday.
“In every detail, it’s better than the old schoolhouse” where the center operated out of a basement for 34 years, he said. “I think people will get attached to this building. It will be a lot of fun getting used to a new way of doing things.”
Eighty people came through the doors at the new building at 138 Sunderland Road in the first 10 minutes Monday, and that’s how many used to come in the first hour, said program director Tracey Levy. Some came for lunch, while others came for free bread and produce. Many received bouquets of flowers donated by Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.
They found that the new Survival Center has twice the space, with a sunny dining room with space for 80 people to sit down comfortably. The building has space for the free medical clinic, more parking, more efficient storage and distribution of food, and easier drop-off of clothing donations. The “free store,” which gives out clothes and household goods, will open Dec. 17.