Heidi Nortonsmith: When concern leads to misinformed rumors

  • Pamela Rewa carries in food they picked up from Target in Hadley for donation at the Northampton Survival Center. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 11/7/2019 4:16:54 PM
Modified: 11/7/2019 4:16:44 PM

The Northampton Survival Center is fortunate to be the focus of a great deal of support and goodwill from our community. Occasionally, feelings of care and concern lead people to unwittingly spread misinformation that can interfere with people accessing our food pantry when they are in need of help.

Twice in one recent week we became aware of such misguided communications. We were surprised to take a phone call from a social service agency asking for our “new address,” upon hearing the false rumor that we had moved to Springfield.

We haven’t moved. We’re still located at 265 Prospect St. in Northampton. I recently learned that a comment at a public forum addressed a speaker’s concern that the center “can’t serve undocumented people.” We can, and do, assist all within our service area who are low income, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

Similarly, each time the government has shut down in recent years, we discover that some clients have gone without food support for those days or weeks under the mistaken impression that we’re a governmental agency. We’re not, and we stay open every weekday all year long, through shutdowns and even, whenever possible, through power outages.

We’re happy to have a robust website, www.northamptonsurvival.org, that provides additional information about how to connect with our services, volunteer or donate. Please help us reach the people who need us by visiting the site or giving us a call at 413-586-6564.

We’ll be so grateful to have you as one of our well-informed ambassadors.

Heidi Nortonsmith


The author is executive director Northampton Survival Center.

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