SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic have forced more Springfield area families to rely on emergency food sources.

Some of the 400 families who depend on Springfield’s Open Pantry each month are newcomers to the agency and so are some of the hundreds of individuals who are no longer able to purchase food.

It’s the policy of these emergency food sources to not to pry into the personal lives of those in need.

“We try to treat everyone with dignity. So, we really don’t dig into a lot of the circumstances of what they’re going through. We just understand they have needs, and we do everything to provide the service to them,” said Program Director Michael Akers.

Food donations are plentiful, both from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and private sources of donated food to the pantries that help those people in need. Open Pantry just received a truck load resulting from a food drive conducted by a Springfield area college.