At least 12.5% of Western Massachusetts residents are living below the poverty line, and that number is growing.
Recently, Food Bank SNAP Coordinator Lydia Mills sat down with Tracey Levy of the Amherst Survival Center to discuss The Food Bank’s SNAP outreach being conducted at that site, and how it’s helped the individuals and families who use their services. Here’s what she had to say.
LM: How long has The Food Bank been doing SNAP application assistance at your site?
TL: TFB has been here (mostly) weekly since September of 2010. They were helping out before then, but not as consistently.
LM: Are there programs/services at your site that the folks in the community should know about?
TL: The Amherst Survival Center is a community – many clients help us run the center by volunteering and others just come and hang out all day with friends. But we have lots of programs and services including clothing, health care, services and referrals, and food programs. There isn’t a formal intake process for most of our programs so people from Springfield to Northampton to Greenfield come regularly (in addition to people from the Amherst area).
We have several food programs at the Amherst Survival Center and two of them are available to anyone who walks into our Center. Our Fresh Food Distribution Program gives out fresh bread, pastries and produce four days a week to over 50 people who walk through our doors. People come multiple days a week to bring the food home to their familes and neighbors. And our Hot Lunch Program (and Thursday evening dinner-and-movie) is also open to everyone. Our Food Pantry is limited to people who live in one of the twelve towns that are closest to Amherst. For more information, people should go to our website: www.amherstsurvival.org.
LM: How is SNAP outreach affecting your clients?
TL: SNAP outreach is a wonderful resource to offer our clients. One of the questions we ask every month in our Food Pantry is whether people get SNAP. It’s great when you can just say to people “Come on Tuesday and someone can help you with the paperwork.” It’s such a relief to many of them. It takes over an hour and 2-3 busses for them to get to the closest DTA office.
LM: Is there anything else you would like to tell our SNAP outreach volunteers?
TL: Thank you!Comments Off
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