Food Security Resources for Families During Summer Months
Food Bank of Western MA Offers Food Resources for Families During Summer Months
Working with more than 350 member agencies that make up the emergency food network in our region, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts provides food to 15,000 people every week. Thirty-one percent of households who seek emergency food from those agencies have at least one working adult, but still do not earn enough to make ends meet. Nearly half of the families say they must make tough choices between paying for food and paying for utilities, heating fuel, rent, mortgage or medical care, because they don’t have enough money to meet all these basic needs.
Nearly 20 percent of all kids under 18 in Western Massachusetts live in food insecure households, and don’t always have enough to eat. As school lets out for summer, we are reminded that the next three months will be even harder for these kids. Without school meals, grocery budgets are stretched to the brink, and many parents find it difficult to replace the two to even three free meals they receive five days a week during the school year.
Luckily, many of the agencies The Food Bank works worth address this increased need directly by providing summer grocery bag programs and daily meals to help fill in the gaps.
Here are several area resources to help children and their parents during the summer months in the four counties of Western MA:
Kids’ Summer Food Program @ Northampton Survival Center & Hilltown Food Pantry
During the summer months, the Northampton Survival Center’s Kids’ Summer Food Program provides eligible children with free food packages to help feed them breakfast and lunch every weekday for ten weeks during summer vacation. Children living in any of the 18 communities in our service area who receive free or subsidized meals through their school are eligible to receive this food.
Every eligible child in the household can receive a pre-bagged package of food which includes dry milk, cereal, fruit, juice, peanut butter, jelly, mac & cheese, tuna, soup, and vegetables. Families pick up food for the Kids’ Summer Food Program during our usual pantry hours at the same time that they are getting their regular package of groceries. Both our Northampton and Goshen locations distribute Kids’ Summer Food Program packages.
- Northampton Survival Center. 265 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. 413-586-6564. Hours of Operation: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11am-2pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm-7pm.
- Hilltown Food Pantry. 40 Main Street. Goshen, MA. 413-268-7578. Hours of Operation: Every Wednesday from 1pm-3pm; Third Wednesdays of every month from 1pm-6pm.
Kids Bag Program @ the Easthampton Community Center
In collaboration with Project Bread, the Easthampton Community Center was able to start a Kids Bag Program. 300 kids aged 13 and under receive a bag of kid friendly food each week over the summer. Each bag contains 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 14 snacks.
- Easthampton Community Center. 12 Clark Street. Easthampton, MA. 413-527-5240. Hours of Operation: Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am-12pm & 4pm-7pm.
Summer Food Service Program
Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee are chock full of summer meal programs as part of The Summer Food Service Program. SFSP is a federally funded nutrition program that provides free meals to children ages 18 and under when school is not in session. In Massachusetts, the SFSP is administered by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). To find meal sites and other food programs in your town, please visit: www.meals4kids.org (Summer 2012 Information updated as of June 18th).
United Arc Family Support and Parent Education Services
In addition to hosting a food pantry, United Arc also offers the following primary services: Educational Consultation, Financial Assistance, Information & Referral, plus various Support & Research Groups. The United Arc’s Family Support Centers serve families with a family member who has developmental disabilities and lives at home.
- United Arc of Franklin and Hampshire Counties. Positive Parenting Pantry. 111 Summer Street. Greenfield, MA. 413-774-5558. Hours of Operation: Mondays – Fridays from 9am-5pm.
“EAT 4 FREE” – Greenfield Summer Meals Program
Free Meals available for children 18 and under at the following locations:
- Greenfield High School
- Y of Greenfield
- Greenfield Gardens
- Greenfield Swimming Pool (Lunch Only)
- Leyden Woods
- Oak Courts
- Greenfield Middle School
- Camp Keewanee
- Federal Street School
Hours of Operation: Breakfast: 8am-9am; Lunch: 11:30am-12:30pm. Call Greenfield Public Schools for More Info: 413-772-1334.
Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantries @ Community Action!
The Center for Self-Reliance storefront pantry offers food to families, plus information and referrals to other services and programs.
- The Center for Self-Reliance. 1 1/2 Osgood Street. Greenfield, MA. 413-773-5029. Hours of Operation: Mondays from 11am-6pm; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11am-5pm.
- The West County Food Pantry. Shelburne Falls Senior Center. 7 Main Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. 413-773-5029. Hours of Operation: Every 3rd Wednesday of the Month.
Summer Feeding @ North Adams Public Schools
Free daily meals are available to children 18 and under at the following schools:
- Brayton Elementary School. 20 Barbour Street. North Adams, MA. 413-662-3260. Hours of Operation: Breakfast: 7:45am-8:45am; Lunch: 11am-12:30pm.
- Greylock Elementary School. 100 Phelps Avenue. North Adams, MA. Hours of Operation: Lunch: 11:15am-12:15pm.
- Sullivan Elementary School. 151 Kemp Avenue. North Adams, MA. 413-662-3250. Hours of Operation: Lunch: 11:15am-12:15pm.
Free Daily Lunch
- Berkshire Food Project. First Congregational Church. North Adams MA. 413-664-7378. Hours of Operation: Mondays – Fridays @ Noon.