Friday, January 24, 2014
To the editor:
The community’s ongoing support of the Amherst Survival Center is much appreciated. The Nov. 1, 2013, deep cuts to the Supplemental Nution Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) has left many of our neighbors in more need than ever.
One program at the center that helps meet this need is our food pantry. In December 2012, the pantry supplied boxes of food to 26 new households. In all, 15,362 pounds of food was distributed to a total of 303 households, which included 34 children. One year later, in our new building and after the SNAP cuts, in December 2013, we served 109 new households, distributed a total of 24,287 pounds of food to a total of 569 families, which included 110 children.
Items arrive in the pantry from three sources: food drives held by community members, donations from local farms and businesses and food the survival center purchases from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Therefore, your financial contributions are always welcome in any amount. If you would like to hold a food drive in your neighborhood or place of work or worship, here is the list of the 10 most needed items: nut butters, soups, canned fruit, cereal, canned vegetables, canned beans, dry lentils, whole-grain pasta, whole grains, canned fish. Also note that SNAP does not cover personal care items such as soap, shampoo, lotion, toilet paper, diapers or sanitary napkins and tampons, so these items are also needed.
If you’d like to organize a food drive, contact Shelly, our dedicated pantry coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information about the center or to make a donation see amherstsurvival.org. Join us for lunch on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday at noon. First of all, it’s one of the best meals you’ll find in Amherst, it’s free for all and you can see how the center is filled with people finding nourishment, encouragement and community.
Thank you again for your support. Keep it coming.
The writer is vice president and on the board of directors of the Amherst Survival Center.