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Florence Bank Gives $10,000 to Amherst Survival Center

FLORENCE — Florence Bank recently donated $10,000 to the Amherst Survival Center, which connects residents of Hampshire and Franklin counties to food, clothing, healthcare, wellness, and community, primarily through volunteer efforts.

Since mid-March, the Amherst Survival Center has focused its resources on food and nutrition programs, ensuring its ability to provide hot meals to go, daily access to fresh produce and bread, and full grocery shops from its food pantry in as safe a manner as possible.

This summer, the center established a strategic plan to address the steady rise of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their plan entails doubling the food provided by the food pantry while also expanding grocery offerings to roughly two weeks each month. Additionally, the center will expand its staff in order to implement evening and weekend hours and integrate deliveries into the schedule with a goal of delivering food to 1,000 to 1,500 area residents per month.

“We had a very busy summer season,” said Lev Ben-Ezra, executive director of the Amherst Survival Center. “We’ve continued to see more and more people for lunch, and had many new households sign up for the Food Pantry, both to pick up on site and for our rapidly growing delivery program. With the help of our amazing volunteers and support staff, we spent the summer passing out produce, cooking up to 250 lunches per day, and in August alone, we delivered groceries to nearly 1,000 people.”

These efforts have been fueled by generous donations, Ben-Ezra added. “With support from organizations like Florence Bank, we’ll be able to expand our evening and weekend hours to facilitate access for those returning to work. By year end, we expect to serve 6,000 residents, a 50% increase from fiscal year 2019.”

Florence Bank President and CEO Kevin Day added that “we’re thrilled to support the Amherst Survival Center as they continue their important work and service the increased amount of food-insecure people in need. They’ve done an outstanding job throughout the pandemic and, during the summer alone, distributed more than 200,000 meals to community members. We’re proud to stand beside them and support their integral efforts to make sure we all have the food we need.”

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