SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Heading into the winter months, food insecurity and homelessness is becoming increasingly concerning across western Massachusetts. According to the Food Bank of western Massachusetts, more than 76,000 people are food insecure in the area.
“I think its a real problem that people are out here homeless and hungry,” said George Anderson of Springfield.
Temperatures are dropping as we head into the cold winter months and food insecurity and homelessness is still an issue across western Massachusetts. However, local organizations are continuing their efforts to help end hunger and house those in need.
Jennie Adamczyk from Kate’s Kitchen told 22News that a hot meal is something that people should always have access to. She says the kitchen is starting to see a lot more people this year, “We are seeing a huge increase our numbers for the amount served. Not just at the soup kitchen but at the food pantry also are higher than our numbers were during COVID… and we thought we had huge numbers then.”
Kate’s Kitchen feeds over 150 people a night for dinner on top of the 130 to 160 people that they feed for lunch. After Atlas Chiropractic and its patients raised $8,000 for the non-profit, the food distribution center will now be able to feed over 1,800 people.
Adamczyk says that three quarters of Kate’s Kitchens service and meal time are unhoused people.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, homelessness has been on the rise since 2017 with an overall increase of six percent.
Vice President of Marketing and Development Geoffrey Oldmixon with Clinical and Support Options says their agency is constantly housing people in the community who need a place to stay, “On any given night, Friends of the Homeless houses anywhere between 160 to180 or so adult individuals, men and women, and we have separate men and women shelters.”
He says homelessness is an ongoing challenge and that it is important to work together as a community to find people safe places to live.