UMass Transit Services hosts annual food drive

By Kathleen Kirk

(Daily Collegian File Photo)
(Collegian File Photo)

UMass Transit Services is running its seventh annual food drive to benefit the Amherst Survival Center’s food pantry.

Non-perishable food items are being collected in marked bins on all transit busses. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) is also holding a drive to benefit the center. Collections will be accepted until Nov. 24.

In a press release issued by UMass Transit, Derek Pires, Operations supervisor, said, “We’re hopeful that the community will come together and help us gather donations for families in need this winter.”

The Amherst Survival Center was founded in 1976 and supports individuals and families in 13 local communities. The center serves more than 4,000 people every year.

Its services include a food pantry, community meals, breakfast bar, drop-in clinic, free store, food recovery network, fresh food distribution and more. The food pantry provides a monthly supply of food for three to four days per person in a household.

According to the center’s website, the food pantry is in need of nut butters, soups, canned fruits, cereal, canned vegetables, canned beans, dry lentils, whole grains, healthy kid’s snacks and canned fish.

It also lists the most requested Thanksgiving foods, including canned gravy, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, canned pumpkins, canned pie filling, canned sweet potatoes and canned soups.

The Amherst Survival Center is a member agency of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

According to the food bank’s website, one in five children in Western Massachusetts live in food insecure homes. In Hampshire County, 15,730 individuals are food insecure.

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.”

Kathleen Kirk can be reached at [email protected]