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Northampton Recovery Center moves to Gleason Plaza

  • David Moffett, a corrections officer at Hampshire County Jail, moves a chair while helping with the move-in for the Northampton Recovery Center at its new location at 2 Gleason Plaza, Monday, April 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire County Jail inmates Luis Santiago, center, and Wolf Valentin, right, move a table into the new home of Northampton Recovery Center at 2 Gleason Plaza, Monday, April 30, 2018. Daniel Carey, left, who is the director of the Drug Diversion and Treatment Program at the Northwestern District Attorney's office, looks on. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Daniel Carey, right, who is the director of the Drug Diversion and Treatment Program in the Northwestern District Attorney's office, and David Moffett, second from right, a corrections officer at Hampshire County Jail, move chairs while helping with the move-in for the Northampton Recovery Center at its new location at 2 Gleason Plaza, Monday, April 30, 2018. The director of the center, Lynn Ferro, left, looks on. Robyn Wronski, a volunteer coordinator, works at a computer. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lynn Ferro, the director of Northampton Recovery Center, directs Stephen Milanovich, an inmate at the Hampshire County Jail, as he moves a writing board at the center’s new location at 2 Gleason Plaza, Monday. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Daniel Carey, who is the director of the Drug Diversion and Treatment Program in the Northwestern District Attorney's office, moves a chair while helping with the move-in for the Northampton Recovery Center at its new location at 2 Gleason Plaza, Monday, April 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Thanks to an anonymous donor, the Northampton Recovery Center, a peer-driven support group for drug abuse victims run by the Northwestern district attorney’s office, moved to a new site Monday and will soon expand its services and hours of operation.

After operating out of Edwards Church for the last 18 months, the Recovery Center now has its own space at 2 Gleason Plaza. On Tuesday, the Recovery Center will host an open house all day at its new site in celebration of Valley Gives Day.

“We can expand our hours and we will be able to provide so many more programs,” said Lynn Ferro, director of the district attorney’s Drug Abuse Task Force and interim director of the Recovery Center. “Everybody is so excited about it.”

An anonymous donor will cover rent for the space in the building between the district attorney’s office and Castle Architectural Salvage. While the space is just 975 square feet and likely not a permanent home for the Recovery Center, it will allow for activities at more flexible hours instead of scheduling around times when the Edwards Church was used for other purposes, Ferro said. It will also provide the group with some much-needed storage space.

“The trunk of my car was full, my office was full, everything was full because we didn’t have storage” at the church, Ferro said. “Now we can put whatever we want on the walls, and get yoga mats.”

In the past, the center has relied on donations to supply lunches and miscellaneous supplies, but with an increase in hours it will need a more reliable way of providing these services.

“We’d like to be a little more self-sufficient,” Ferro said. “We would like to pay for training for people to go do whatever they want in terms of their own personal growth and professional development.”

Approximately 200 people per month visit the Recovery Center, which sees a core group of approximately 40 to 60 regular members. Since opening last Oct. 27, the center has seen over 500 individuals, according to Ferro.

The Recovery Center offers no clinical treatments, but does seek healing through other means. Activities that promote personal and emotional growth, mindfulness exercises and workshops on the healing effects of herbal teas are all offered free of charge to addicts in recovery, or who are seeking recovery, as well as their loved ones.

“The peer approach is crucial to this — that’s what makes a good recovery center,” Ferro said.

The center partners with the county jail to allow inmates serving time for drug-related charges to spend time at the center. It offers Alcoholics Anonymous-style meetings, educational speakers, wellness activities such as yoga, and meals three days a week.

“It’s a great location and we got a great price from the landlord,” Ferro said. “We will also apply for United Way funding and I’m hoping we get that.”

While the rent is paid for, most of the programs and supplies will continue to be provided by donors and volunteers. The space is fully furnished, but donations are still needed for utilities, including internet services. Programs like yoga, writing groups and meditation are possible because the instructors volunteer their time to the Recovery Center.

Currently, the center offers a group meeting and wellness activity every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon in addition to other scheduled activities. Ferro said it plans to add two-hour time slots in the morning and evening times to accommodate more members on different schedules.

Ferro hopes the center will soon receive more funding from the state, but this year no additional funds for recovery centers were included in the budget. The Recovery Center is seeking other sources of revenue so it can hire staff members, as Ferro is the only paid employee working as the interim director. The district attorney’s office pays her salary.

“I think that the community is really coming together around this issue of addiction,” Ferro said. “The Northampton community has really stepped up to the plate and they’re very aware of how important having a recovery center is.”

The Recovery Center is open every Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. and every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday’s open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 2 Gleason Plaza in downtown Northampton.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com.