Welcoming our new Development Director

Giving back has always been important to me. Growing up in a low-income household, I regularly benefited from resources and programs designed to help people like me get enough to eat, participate in extracurricular activities, and even apply to college. Some of those experiences were nicer than others. It is easy to feel embarrassed when you have to ask for assistance, but the very best programs remind you that you matter and that everyone needs a helping hand from time to time.

The Northampton Survival Center is one of those “best” programs. I joined the Center in February and during my first week in the office, I saw firsthand what caring for our clients in an “atmosphere of dignity and respect” looks like.

On a food distribution day, I was invited to watch a shift in action and was immediately impressed to see five volunteers zipping around with shopping carts, preparing custom orders for clients. Questions flew around the room from long-time volunteers who anticipated clients’ requests before being asked. Answers came just as quickly: there are pizzas in the freezer. Tania likes broccoli. We’re currently out of toothbrushes but hope to have more next week.

At the Center, clients choose the exact foods they want to bring home. On my first tour of the pantry, I was delighted to learn that the food is nutritionally balanced, diverse, and thoughtful—a far cry from the bags of random groceries I remember being foisted on my family growing up. As I watched volunteers packing clients’ choices, I was impressed to find some of my favorite nonperishables (like Annie’s mac and cheese and B&M baked beans) in stock. There are also refrigerators filled with Our Family Farms milk and organic corn tortillas from Mi Tierra, shelves of just-baked bread from local bakeries, freezers of meat, and an abundance of produce (including carrots, pears, and even pineapples).

Being a development director is like being a matchmaker—I get to match a donor’s passion with a vital need at the Center. Developing relationships with folks based on shared values allows me to connect with people over things they care about, and we can translate that passion into impact by doing good work together. Whether you want to volunteer at the Center, donate funds to purchase food for clients, or help us cross an item (like specialty food-moving equipment for our warehouse!) off our wishlist, we can find the right match for you.

When you have ideas you’re excited to chat about, reach out to me! I’m eager to see how we can partner together to benefit our community.

Danielle Brown, Development Director