The Town of Amherst has joined with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and Amherst Business Improvement District to provide 100 meals twice a week to Amherst families affected by Covid-19. The Town has dedicated $10,000 from CARES Act funding towards feeding these families in need. This funding is being matched with $5,000 contributed from the Downtown Amherst Foundation through the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and Amherst Business Improvement District (BID).
The Town will work with Family Outreach of Amherst to connect families in need with the meals. Meals will be purchased from local restaurants to support our local businesses.
The meals program, December Dinner Delights, represents an extension of the work of the social work outreach position at Family Outreach of Amherst that was funded by the Town to identify and close the gap of community unmet need due to COVID-19.
The Chamber and the BID have recruited ten local restaurants to provide 1,000 locally prepared dinners during the month of December. The participating restaurants are: Bistro 63, El Comalito, Veracruzana, Wheelhouse, Miss Saigon, Pasta e Basta, Kaiju, Osteria Vespa, Shanghai Gourmet, and Fresh Side. On Christmas Eve, families will receive a Henion Bakery pie and a special gift for the children made possible through support from Toy Box, AJ Hastings and Amherst Books.
Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, said, “The month of December can be particularly hard for families experiencing food insecurity. It is a month which is often laden with high expectations. The Town has a unique opportunity to lend a helping hand to those who have been impacted by COVID-19, at a time when it may be needed most. I commend our business leaders who were instrumental in developing this program that will support families in need and local restaurants.”
Claudia Pazmany, Executive Director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, added “Collective partnerships such as this are how we make the most positive impact at such difficult times. And when we do so to serve our neighbors in need while funding continued work for local restaurants it is a win for our entire community.”
Gabrielle Gould, Executive Director of the Amherst Business Improvement District continued, "We are hoping this proves to be a successful and compelling pilot program and if CARES funding continues into 2021, together, with the Downtown Amherst Foundation funds, we can continue this program for at least the first quarter of 2021 getting our families through the winter. Our Downtown Amherst Foundation is still accepting donations at downamherstfoundation.org.”
The Western Mass Food Bank estimates that 1 in 6 people are experiencing food insecurity this year and, more profoundly, estimates for children are even higher, with 1 in 4 children experiencing food insecurity. The Amherst community and local agencies have nimbly responded to the increased demand for food assistance due to COVID-19.
Contact: Mary Beth Ogulewicz email@example.com