Double Dollar Days to support Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry

  • The Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry held an open house Tuesday evening in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry held an open house Tuesday evening in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Community Action Pioneer Valley Executive Director Clare Higgins speaks during an open house Tuesday evening at the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Program Coordinator Justin Costa speaks during an open house Tuesday evening at the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Community Action Pioneer Valley staff and volunteers, from left, Mary McClintock, Janna Tetreault, Jessye Deane and Justin Costa, at the Center for Self Reliance Food Pantry in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2019 5:17:16 PM

GREENFIELD — Two local companies have teamed up with Community Action Pioneer Valley’s Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry to make all donations between now and Friday make twice the impact in hungry people’s lives in Franklin County.

The county’s largest choice food pantry — meaning that people get to choose what they want, shopping as if they were in a grocery store — will receive not only the donations people make through Friday, but a match for each donation from Yankee Candle Village and Smith Brothers Insurance up to $7,000 as part of “Double Dollar Days.”

Community Action Pioneer Valley Director of Communications and Development Jessye Deane said the food pantry, which feeds 4,000 residents annually, is seeing more families more frequently — sometimes up to 100 people a day — and is reaching out to the community for help.

“We’re going to keep feeding people,” Deane said. “But, it’s difficult to keep up with the funding we receive for it. We’ve seen a steady increase of people using the food pantry over the past few years. This is an important fundraiser for us.

“Unemployment is down, but the high cost of housing in Franklin County means that minimum wage is not a living wage,” Deane continued. “Seventy percent of the families we serve make less than $25,000 a year for a family of four.”

The Center for Self-Reliance on Osgood Street operates with three staff members and a team of 32 volunteers to create a welcoming space where “people don’t have to check their dignity at the door,” Deane said.

“Folks may come in looking for help with food, but we’re making sure they’re leaving with more than just groceries,” she said. “Our staff and volunteers are connecting visitors with fresh food, as well as resources to other Community Action programs like fuel assistance, Head Start, financial counseling, job training and placement. It’s a tiny little food pantry that helps people look at the big picture.”

The Center for Self-Reliance distributes 380,000 pounds of fresh and nonperishable food each year.

“Thanks to the generous support of local farms and businesses, about one-third of the food we distribute is fresh produce,” Deane said.

She said that having fresh, healthy dietary options is especially important considering that more than one-fourth of those served at the pantry are children.

“We’re really grateful to Yankee Candle and Smith Brothers Insurance for recognizing the need, giving back, and encouraging others to do the same,” Community Action Pioneer Valley Executive Director Clare Higgins said of Double Dollar Days.

“Every donation made this week allows us to feed the need at twice the speed,” Deane said. “For every dollar donated, the Center for Self-Reliance is able to provide six meals for a family in need.”

Donations can be made online at communityaction.us/give or can be dropped off at the pantry on Osgood Street. Checks can be made out to Community Action and mailed to: Community Action Pioneer Valley, 393 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301.

The Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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