GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does the need for groceries for low income families in western Massachusetts. Community Action of the Pioneer Valley (CAPV) temporarily relocated their Center for Self-Reliance food pantry in Greenfield to the Federal Street Elementary School cafeteria.
“The move over to the school has been a huge help for us and being able to operate out of a space that allows us to manage proper social distancing while also creating a nice quick efficient drive-thru pick up for participants,” Center for Self-Reliance Coordinator, Justin Costa told 22News.
They also changed their process to curb-side pre-bagged groceries instead of their usual store-like experience. Their former location on Osgood Street did not allow for the space to properly practice social distancing while fulfilling the needs of their clients.
The Center for Self-Reliance a program within Community Action of the Pioneer Valley says they serve usually 1400 to 1500 people a month but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they’ve seen an increase in requests for their assistance services. They told us that 29% of the people they serve, are children.
“It is incredibly important to us especially now that we’re able to continue to help local access the groceries, formula and diapers they need to stay safe and healthy and stay home,” CAPV Director of Communication and Development, Jessye Deane told 22News.
They typically operate the pantry with three full time staff and 36 volunteers but now they’re operating whit two staff per shift. The pantry is not taking food donations, instead they are encouraging those who want to help to donate to their COVID-19 emergency relief fund.
“One of the strengths of the Center for Self-Reliance is that it is a program of Community Action of the Pioneer Valley. So folks may be coming to us looking for food but we’re able to loop them into other supportive services like fuel assistance, Headstart, community resources and advocacy,” Deane said.
The Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They also operate a pantry in Shelburne Falls that’s open at 51 Maple Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.
Those in need of food can call 413-773-5029 to speak with pantry staff.