New van to boost food delivery services at Amherst Survival Center 

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 01-20-2023 9:25 PM

AMHERST — Area families depending on the Amherst Survival Center for staples like milk, eggs and bread will be among those benefiting from a new delivery van recently bought by the agency.

Using $76,500 collected from 117 community members during a capital campaign, the center acquired the refrigerated vehicle that will be used to enhance the Fresh Boost initiative by bringing groceries from its 138 Sunderland Road site to those who need them.

Executive Director Lev BenEzra said the van means serving more people and having more produce and other perishable items delivered to participants.

“This is especially needed now, because more people are facing food insecurity ... than during the highest peaks of the pandemic,” BenEzra said. “More people are turning to the Amherst Survival Center than ever before.”

“This van is a visible symbol of our community’s collective commitment to achieving food security for all,” she added.

Lisa Queenin, the development manager for the center, said those who donated to the van purchase are being publicly recognized for their generosity at www.amherstsurvival.org/van2022 .

Feedback from participants, and on-site demand, indicates the importance of the food pantry. In 2019, the food pantry provided about five days' worth of food per household each month. In 2020, that increased to eight days' worth of food per household each month, and then to 10 days' worth of groceries.

But to achieve the goal of each family getting two full weeks of food, BenEzra said the center had to add a second shop on-site, understanding that many don’t have storage space to take that much food at once.

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This led to the center in October beginning to offer the additional Fresh Boost monthly grocery shop onsite, and then in November a Fresh Boost delivery along a few routes.

With the second Fresh Boost delivery happening now, the refrigerated van is ensuring all delivery households who want food will get it.

BenEzra said those in need of food, as well as the health clinic and community activities, are welcome to contact the center.

Area residents can help with the Fresh Boost initiative in various ways, including learning about volunteering during the winter by sending email to volunteer@amherstsurvival.org, making donations of non-perishable foods, especially cereal, pasta and rice, by dropping those items off on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and on third Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, or making a financial contribution at www.amherstsurvival.org/donate.

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