Since COVID-19 hit the U.S. hard in March of 2020, we have made significant changes to operations at the Center. Clients should know that we are currently operating an outdoor distribution system shown below. Volunteers working inside the building create custom orders for each household while clients wait outside in their cars.
The Northampton Survival Center, through its Goshen and Northampton locations, provides low-income residents of the community with nutritionally-balanced food packages. Our program is a “choice” program, which means that each box is custom-filled for every household.
In addition to picking up their package of groceries once a month, clients may also visit once a week to select breads and fresh produce.
Pantry hours at the Survival Center are friendly and sociable. Once clients enter the pantry, they are given a number and take turns going through a brief intake process, after which they will be served in turn by our pantry volunteers.
What to Expect During Food Distribution Hours
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 outdoor distribution system.
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?
We are currently taking over deliveries from Grow Food Northampton and are working on implementing our own delivery system. Interested in delivery? Contact Alexander, Distribution Coordinator, 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, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are usually freebies that clients are welcome to take after picking up their food, as well as toiletries, diapers, and pet food on request.
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.