United Way, HCC Celebrate Grand Opening of Holyoke Food Pantry
HOLYOKE — Last week, the United Way of Pioneer Valley and Holyoke Community College (HCC) celebrated the opening of the Holyoke Community Cupboard, a downtown food pantry that will allow residents to pick up free frozen and refrigerated foods in addition to the usual dry goods and shelf-stable items.
The Holyoke Community Cupboard is located on the basement level of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., the scene of a Nov. 2 ribbon-cutting and grand-opening event.
“This is a really special occasion,” HCC President George Timmons said. “It’s important, and we want to do our part to try to be good community partners and help the city of Holyoke meet this need, and so we want to do that by providing healthy choices and healthy food and making it easy to access.”
The new food pantry, part of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ network, will serve Holyoke residents as well as those from neighboring towns. It is open Thursdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“We’re incredibly thankful for the collaboration,” said Megan Moynihan, CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley. “Thank you so much for opening your arms to the United Way. We saw that there was a gap in services and that it was very important to get a food pantry into Holyoke. Capacity-wise, we couldn’t do it alone.”
Among those present and taking part in the ribbon cutting were state Rep. Patricia Duffy; Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts; and Jordan Hart, executive director of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce.
“Over my 10 years of working here, it’s been really great to see the evolution and how much HCC has really invested in downtown Holyoke,” Hart said. “Economic development in downtown is so important to all the businesses in the community, so HCC’s presence down here with the culinary institute and the Picknelly Center [at 206 Maple St.] is really important. Congratulations to the United Way and HCC for your continued involvement in downtown Holyoke.”
This is the third pantry operated by UWPV after the agency opened sites in Springfield and Chicopee.
“We hope to use this collaboration as a means of finding innovative solutions to food security and to collectively support other initiatives,” said Lee Drewitz, UWPV’s director of Program Operations. “This includes offering food demonstrations using food-pantry staples and educating the community about the emergency food pantry system.”
HCC also operates a food pantry on campus as part of its Thrive Student Resource Center, which was founded in 2015 with assistance from the United Way of Pioneer Valley.