Center for Self-Reliance hires new director


For the Gazette
Published: 8/24/2016 2:16:07 AM

GREENFIELD — The Center for Self-Reliance on Osgood Street in Greenfield has a new director. Justin Costa, formerly of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield, will move from the supply end of the local anti-hunger food chain to the distribution side.

Costa replaces retiring coordinator Dino Schnelle, who held the position for nearly two decades and was instrumental in developing the pantry into what it is today.

Costa has five years of experience in the hunger relief network, working first at the Boston Food Bank and then as an operations manager at the Food Bank in Hatfield.

He said he first became involved with food justice work after graduating from college. “I knew I wanted to do some sort of social justice work, and I had experience with food, in retail and gardening or agricultural. It seemed like a good fit,” he said.

Growing up in New Jersey, just outside New York City, Costa said he was always drawn to nonprofit work that would allow him to do something positive for his community.

Costa said he is excited to assume a more client-focused role where he will be able to work directly with the people who benefit from the food distributed by the Food Bank.

“It’ll be good to provide healthy, nutritious food to people on a regular basis,” he said. “To be here in Greenfield and be a part of that on the local level will be great, it’s one of the most meaningful parts of the job, meeting amazing folks every day.”

Janna Tetreault, Community Action’s assistant director of community services and asset development, said the center not only distributes food to those in need, but can serve as a connection point to help them access other services like fuel aid and benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday. The West County Food Pantry in Shelburne,  at 51 Maple St., is open on the second, third and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Costa said the center is currently looking for volunteers, and anyone interested may contact him at 413-773-5029.

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