CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday is World Food Day, which raises awareness of the issues that surround poverty and hunger.

Over 150 countries observe World Food Day on October 16th, according to the National Day Calander. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) created World Food Day at its 20th General Conference back in 1979.

According to World Hunger Statistics, 785 million people do not have enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle around the globe. This number equals about one in nine people in the world. The majority of people who are hungry live in developing countries, and poor nutrition causes 45 percent of deaths in children under the age of five years old. Over three million children a year die due to not having enough nutritious food.

Some experts believe that the key to ending world hunger is to stop wasting food, such as vegetables, cereals, and starchy roots. These foods specifically are wasted during agricultural production and in postharvest storage. Some other ways that people believe are a way to end world hunger include:

  • Help people provide food for themselves in a sustainable way
  • Give people in developing countries access to credit so they can create their own farms
  • Encourage individuals and businesses to donate to hunger relief organizations
  • Provide access to education, which is the best defense against poverty and hunger
  • Allow for increased government intervention

One way to observe World Food Day is by donating to your local food pantry. Here is a list of local food pantries in western Massachusetts and what their mission is:

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has been feeding neighbors in need leading the community to end hunger since 1982 and providing food to members in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. 

Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry

Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, Inc. is a resource of food security for anyone who is in need. They strive to reduce the risk and effects that food insecurity has on families and individuals by investing in those they serve through collaboration with our community partners to educate and raise awareness.

Open Pantry Community Services

Open Pantry’s Emergency Food Pantry (EFP) has been providing groceries for people who are in need since 1975. Both individuals and families come to the EFP on an emergency basis. They have special programs for seniors and distributed over  476,368 lbs. of food to people in need last year.

Margaret’s Pantry

Margaret’s Pantry is a full-service food pantry that provides food to residents of the greater Holyoke area. They proudly serve every community in western Massachusetts, except for Springfield, but do assist them with emergency needs due to fire or other tragedy. Margaret’s Pantry is proud to provide enough food for three meals and three snacks for four days to those in need.

Parish Cupboard

The Parish Cupboard provides meals and groceries to individuals and families that are in need throughout West Springfield, Agawam, and Feeding Hills. Their pantry is open to residents to receive groceries once a month and helps those in need with their food and lunch program.

Westfield Food Pantry

The Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry provides food to the needy people of the greater Westfield area. They also foster self-sufficiency in individuals through encouragement, support guidance, and education, as well as identify and address the root causes of hunger in their community and strive to provide long-term solutions.

Amherst Survival Center Food Pantry

The Amherst Survival Center has promoted the health and well-being of residents of Franklin and Hampshire counties with a wide variety of programs that are designed to help people meet their basic needs. They provide a welcoming community where families and individuals can come for food and access to other resources. People can share their material resources, their expertise, and frustrations. No one is turned away.

BUCC Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry

Their mission ministry helps the community and the world by taking the Spirit of Jesus out into the community and applying it to people in need, such as with their program, Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry, which provides food for approximately 50 families a month.

Easthampton Community Center Food Pantry

The Easthampton Community Center, Inc. provides services and assistance to residents of the greater Easthampton area. The Center provides a Food Pantry, Community Care Kitchen, and a Clothing Closet, along with meeting space for community groups and holiday or celebratory gatherings. 

Hilltown Food Pantry

The Hilltown Food Pantry has been serving the northern Hampshire County Hilltowns since 1990. The Pantry is a program of the Northampton Survival Center, and serves eligible residents of Chesterfield, Cummington, Middlefield, Peru, Plainfield, Goshen, Haydenville, Huntington, Westhampton, Williamsburg, and Worthington.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc

Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc. opened their doors in 2011 in the United Methodist Church, where they now serve about 150 families a month. They provide between six to eight days of food each month for each household member with support from food drives, fundraising, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. 

Northampton Survival Center

The Northampton Survival Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County by providing food and other resources in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

First Congregational Church of Southampton Community Cupboard Food Pantry

The Community Cupboard is the First Congregational Church of Southampton food pantry and receives its food from the Southampton community as well as the Western Massachusetts Food Bank. In addition to food, they also provide laundry detergent, which people cannot buy with their SNAP benefit.

The Chicopee Cupboard

The Chicopee Service Center supports the provision of basic needs services to all in need of assistance. They provide food security assistance in the form of an emergency food pantry and are open to anyone who is seeking assistance.

The Hadley Food Pantry

A joint project of the Most Holy Redeemer and First Congregational Church, the Hadley Food Pantry provides nonperishable food and personal care items.

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