We have been forced to temporarily suspend our “choice” program throughout the duration of the pandemic. Clients will still receive a healthy variety of groceries, only now they are pre-bagged. We have also suspended the “monthly” program for the foreseeable future. Instead, clients should come every week if they are able.
WHAT THE NEW DISTRIBUTION IS LIKE - FAQ
What are your distribution hours and locations?
DISTRIBUTIONS FROM NORTHAMPTON
We are distributing food from 12 locations throughout Northampton, in collaboration with Grow Food Northampton and Community Action Pioneer Valley, as well as in the hilltowns.
- On Mondays, food is available from 2pm – 6pm outside the Northampton Survival Center, 265 Prospect St.
- On Wednesdays, and Fridays, food is available from 12 – 3 pm outside the Northampton Survival Center, 265 Prospect St.
- On Tuesdays, food is available from 11am – 12pm for members of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and residents of four housing sites: Hampshire Heights, Florence Heights, Meadowbrook Apartments, and The Lumber Yard.
- On Thursdays, food is available from 11am – 12pm at the six senior housing sites in Northampton, delivered directly to your door by NHA or Michael’s House staff: McDonald House, Michael’s House, Walter Salvo House, Forsander Apartments, Cahill Apartments, and Tobin Manor.
DISTRIBUTIONS FROM THE HILLTOWNS
Hilltown Pantry – Serves Chesterfield, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg
Goshen Town Hall, Route 9, Goshen
Wednesdays from 1 – 3 pm, outdoors, please wear a mask
What will it be like?
People tell us that it is easy, and that the people they talk to are nice. We try to make it as comfortable an experience for clients as possible. Not only will the system be efficient and safely socially distant, but you will also receive service with a smile. Everyone wears a mask, and you’ll be able to stay in your car. You can also come by foot, so long as you stay distant from others. From a more technical standpoint, this video will show you what you can expect from our drive-thru style distribution.
How do I know it’s safe when there are so many people?
We are doing our best to ensure that food distribution is done in a safe, socially-distanced way. Our system is as efficient as possible while utilizing the lowest number of volunteers. Our volunteers follow the same masked protocols as other public agencies and are vetted to make sure they aren’t exhibiting symptoms before they come into work. Clients only get out of their car to load their groceries at a distance from staff and volunteers, and then leave. Our goal is to provide a safe, efficient, curbside pickup system.
I need to stay home, because of medical condition. Can someone come for me?
Yes, you can have someone come for you! Just be sure they can tell us your name and address, and how many people are in your household.
Is it possible for the food to be delivered?
If you live in one of the residential complexes served by our mobile pantry in collaboration with Grow Food Northampton, you may be eligible for doorstep delivery. Follow this link for more information.
What do I have to bring with me?
You don’t need to bring any paperwork. We will ask you where you live, and how many people are in your household. That’s it.
How long will it take?
The slowest time is at the beginning, and you might wait for 30 minutes or more in your car during this time. After the first hour it’s smoother sailing, with very little waiting. We have a volunteer directing traffic, so it will be clear what to do.
What will I get?
During a typical visit, every member of the household will get a bag containing some mix of proteins (canned meat or beans), grains (rice or pasta), fruits, vegetables, tomato products, and soup. Each household also gets an additional bag that can include an assortment of things like cereal, cooking oil, spices, juice, jam, nuts, pancake mix, and peanut butter. Then there are refrigerated items like meat, eggs, milk, and cheese, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes an extra. We also try to include a roll of toilet paper or a bar of soap at each visit too!
I’m sure there are people who need it more than me. If I come will there be less for them?
We have enough for everyone. Our whole community is pitching in to make sure no one is hungry or worried about having enough food. Please don’t hesitate to come if you need help.
How often can I come?
You can come see us every week. It doesn’t need to be the same day every week.
I don’t reside in Northampton, so I don’t think I should come.
You don’t have to reside in Northampton to receive our services. We serve people in 18 communities
If you don’t live in one of these communities, here are some phone numbers for places that may be able to help.
- Amherst Survival Center – 413-549-3968
- Deerfield Brown Bag – 413-665-2141
- Easthampton Community Center – 413-527-5240
- Good Neighbors Food Pantry — 9785443775
- Holyoke Food Pantry – 413-233-0524
- Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry – 413-592-9528
- Southampton Community Cupboard – 413-527-1173
If you find that you are not eligible for any of these services, please visit www.foodbankwma.org to see which food distribution programs you are eligible for.
INFORMATION ABOUT DONATIONS
We are so grateful to this loving community that is responding to this crisis with an outpouring of concern and generosity. Here are some answers to the most common questions:
At this time, we are unfortunately unable to accept anything other than financial donations.
How can I help? What can I buy you?
What we most need right now are financial donations – online or by mail. Did you know that for every dollar you donate, we are afforded nine dollars worth of products at The Food Bank? Your financial donation affords us the most flexibility as we adapt to meet the need as it grows.
Can I donate gift cards for you to distribute to clients?
Thank you for asking, but we don’t hand out gift cards to clients. We can do far more for clients with financial donations. You can donate online here, or as stated above, you can send a check to us in the mail. We appreciate your support!
My restaurant is closing and I’d like to donate food
First, our condolences that your business is being affected in this way, and we thank you for reaching out to help others given what you’re coping with.
Please send an email to Sarah to discuss your donation and how we might connect it to the programs we’ve developed.
INFORMATION ABOUT VOLUNTEERING
Due to our new COVID-19 volunteer capacity, we have suspended volunteer orientations for the foreseeable future.
If you were looking to offer your services as a new volunteer at this time, please feel free to , our Volunteer Manage, to express an interest. Please feel be specific about your availability and skill set (heavy lifting, driving a truck, etc.) While you may not receive a reply email during this busy phase, we thank you for adding your name to this list.
IMPORTANTLY: Please be vigilant in keeping social distances and not volunteering for work if you or someone you’re in close contact with is sick in any way. We’ll be grateful for your help in not allowing germs to spread among us as we work together for our clients.
Can I volunteer from afar?
Yes, if you are on social media and want to like and share our Facebook posts within your network, that helps us get our message out. Staying in touch with us by social media also means you’ll know when our needs or our news changes over time.
Send us words of encouragement. If you had a good experience at the Center or think we’re doing a good job, letting us know gives us a nice boost.
Volunteer for Grow Food Northampton
If you’d like to be a part of the operations at Grow Food Northampton as a volunteer, you can sign up at this link. If you’d like more information, you can contact Francie Lin at email@example.com.
OTHER COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Below is a list of community resources you may find helpful:
- Senator Jo Comerford’s Office Guide to COVID-19 Vaccine https://senatorjocomerford.org/constituent-guide-to-covid-19/#Vaccine
- Congressman Jim McGovern’s office www.mcgovern.house.gov/
- www.foodbankwma.org for Brown Bag information, mobile pantries, or other food resources
Amherst Survival Center (with mobile pantry) https://amherstsurvival.org/
St. Francis Food Pantry https://networks.whyhunger.org/organization/view/14790 (call beforehand to confirm hours)
Helping Hands Cupboard https://www.facebook.com/HelpingHandsBUCC/
Easthampton Community Center https://easthamptoncommunitycenter.org/programs/
Easthampton Congregational Church: Food Cupboard https://www.easthamptonucc.org/missions-outreach/food-cupboard-oasis-kitchen/
- The Huntington Food Pantry https://www.pioneervalleyag.com/huntington-food-pantry
Neighbors Helping Neighbors https://www.nhnfoodpantry.org/
- Community Cupboard Food Pantry (First Congregational Church) https://www.shcong.org/
- Hillside Village mobile pantry: https://hillsidefoodoutreach.org/
- Manna Soup Kitchen http://www.mannanorthampton.com/
- COVID-19 vídeo con recursos en español https://www.dropbox.com/s/xbyr0oucvapgl0j/FINAL_Spanish_covid_resource.mp4?dl=0
- COVID-19 resources in multiple different languages https://www.mghdisparitiessolutions.org/covid-19
- Applying for SNAP online through DTAConnect, or by mailing in a paper application. SNAP outreach partners can also assist clients with SNAP applications over the phone.
- Applying for Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Nutrition Program online or by phone at 1 (800) 942-1007.
- Manna Soup Kitchen http://www.mannanorthampton.com/
- Accessing school meals and Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), by contacting local school districts about school meal eligibility and school meal sites. All children that are eligible for free/reduced-price meals also receive P-EBT benefits.
- Calling Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1 (800) 645-8333 for additional information about nutrition resources, including SNAP, P-EBT, free meals for children and teenagers, and meal delivery for seniors.
REACTIONS TO OUR WORK
People in our community are reaching out in unprecedented numbers to offer support, sign up to volunteer, make donations, and make sure that our vulnerable clients are getting the help they need. It’s a wonderful thing to see how much we can care for each other, even in the midst of a global crisis. Here are some quotes from volunteers and observers over recent weeks
- “I can’t tell you how different and good I felt after volunteering yesterday at the Northampton Survival Center. For the first time since the coronavirus havoc I spent more than 2 hours doing something that wasn’t about me. Together with another volunteer while breaking down the boxes that accumulated between 1-3 I was really struck by the huge amount of food that was given away… to clients who are making decisions more difficult than any I have to make I’m sure. Thank you for the opportunity to do something good in my community.” ~ a volunteer
- ” I have been concerned about the clients- and staff and volunteers. I value all of you who are carrying on to bring – more needed than ever – nourishment to the most vulnerable.” ~ a volunteer
- “Thanks for the wonderful work you all do, and for approaching our new, ever changing reality with such energy, determination and creativity.” ~ a community member looking to volunteer
- “I had such fun yesterday and felt helpful. What a brilliant operation you have going! When could you use my help again this week?” ~ a new volunteer
- “Superheroes in disguise and they appear to be enjoying themselves.” ~ a Google Review