Food Insecurity

Urgent need for volunteers: The Friendship Center Food Pantry in North Adams needs food baggers from 3:30-5:30pm on Wednesdays at their 43 Eagle Street distribution center. Contact Tracy Finnegan ([email protected]) for more information.

Ways to Address Food Insecurity in our Area:

According to the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, over 15,000 people in Berkshire County seek food assistance every month.  A 2015 USDA study estimated more than 42 million people live in food insecure households. Though there is no magic bullet or simple solution at the national, state or local level, there is much that can be done to help alleviate the problem through existing programs, refinements and new initiatives.

We recommend you begin by engaging in frontline work either here in the Berkshires or somewhere else of interest to you, whether as a volunteer, through paid work study or as fieldwork for a course. You’ll then be in a good position to conduct your own research or field project for which you can secure funding either through CLiA or the Office of Fellowships.

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to the student run WRAPS (Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus) food recovery volunteer work, here are other ways to address food insecurity as a volunteer:

We’re on a roll! CLiA Bake Out

  • Bake homemade bread or rolls for St. John’s Sunday Take & Eat. Invite your friends.
  • Bake something sweet for shut-ins.  Come in from the cold or take a study break and bake a batch of cookies for the elderly and lonely.
  • When? Anytime! Contact Tracy Finnegan to schedule a time to bake for others. Baking kits available to use anytime at CLiA!

Berkshire Food Project (BFP), North Adams

  • Serving lunch daily from noon – 1:00pm. Volunteers needed daily, anytime between 11:00am – 2:00pm to help prep food, serve meals, sit and talk with clients or help with clean-up.  Contact BFP Director, Kim McMann (413-664-7378) or CLiA Assistant Director, Tracy Finnegan for more information.
  • We are are scheduling a van to take students to BFP during the Academic Year. If you are interested in volunteering then, please fill out this survey. You will have to log in to a Williams email account to complete the survey.

Williamstown Food Pantry @ St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

  • Help carry groceries for the elderly.
  • Conveniently located in parking lot in back of Sawyer Library
  • Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 1:00-3:00pm 
  • Drop in to help or contact Tracy Finnegan for more information.

 Interfaith Friendship Food Pantry, North Adams

  • Help unload a delivery truck full of donated food from the Western Mass Food Bank. Every Tuesday between 12:00-1:30pm. 
  • Drivers needed to deliver groceries and drive “friends” (clients) home. Shifts every Wednesday from 10:00am-noon, 12:00-2:00pm, 3:30-5:30pm. Contact Tracy Finnegan for more information.
  • Food baggers needed during the 3:30-5:30pm shift
  • While “friends” of the Friendship Pantry wait in line, greeters/volunteers are needed to welcome clients, sign them and help them fill out required forms. Every Wednesday, 3:30-5:30pm.

Potential Volunteer Opportunities

Cooking Classes @ North Adams Community Center, UNO

  • Are you interested in food, talented in cooking or nutrition? Consider teaching a class for women, single mothers and people who want to learn more about cooking healthy meals for themselves and their families.
  • If you don’t have a recipe, consider using a recipe from Good and Cheap, a free downloadable cookbook for low-income and food stamps recipients; four dollars a day, which is the SNAP daily allowance. For example: Broccoli and Cheddar Empanadas.  Learn more from Tracy Finnegan.

Research Opportunities

Relevant Resources & Reading Material