By Debra Baczewski, USDA Rural Development, Amherst, Mass.
In support of the Feds Feed Families summer food drive, employees at the USDA Rural Development State Office in Amherst, Massachusetts have been collecting non-perishable food donations in their office. On Tuesday July 27, 105 pounds of non-perishable food items and fresh produce harvested from the Massachusetts State Office’s People’s Garden were delivered to the Amherst Survival Center (ASC.)
Since 1976, the ASC has promoted the health and well being of residents of Franklin and Hampshire counties with a wide variety of programs designed to help people meet their basic needs. The Center serves over three thousand people each year, and all of their services are free. In addition to helping to feed those in need through their Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, the Center also provides a drop-in health clinic, a free store, and a variety of other support programs.
When Massachusetts State Office employees Deb Baczewski and Laura Barrick arrived at the Center Tuesday morning to drop off the donations from their office there was already a line forming to receive the day’s hot lunch and emergency food. The image was a sobering reminder of the problems families are facing today. Laura Barrick noted, "I had a renewed perspective of what true need was today as I watched a large group of people, including the elderly and women with young children wait in 90 degree heat to receive food donated from folks like us at USDA. It was very touching. As government employees, we are very fortunate and we should count our blessings.” Deb Baczewski reminded Rural Development employees of the importance of their contribution, saying, “You should know that your donations and volunteerism are providing a vital service to the friends and neighbors of the community we work in.”