We look forward to the Fall season at Open Pantry Community Services, Inc. (OPCS) because it is a time for some of our most exciting and fruitful events! On November 21 – November 23, we will hold our Mayflower Marathon at the MGM in Springfield. The Mayflower Marathon is one of New England's largest annual food drives, which raises enough food to feed thousands of families across Springfield and the Western Massachusetts region through the winter. In addition, on Thanksgiving Day, we will hold the Stuff the Pantry 5k run fundraising event. We will also hold our annual Holiday Meals program, which provides a traditional holiday meal for anyone in need of a meal or for those who wish to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with others.
Notwithstanding the challenging conditions of the COVID pandemic over the last two years, OPCS has remained fervently committed to our mission to serve people who are hungry or food-insecure, providing the wrap-around support they need to achieve independence and financial self-sufficiency. These programs include:
• Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen – Every year, over 750 volunteers from faith communities, civic groups, businesses, and student organizations help prepare and serve nutritious food to feed our community members with insufficient access.
• Open Pantry's Emergency Food Pantry – Since 1975, our Emergency Food Pantry has provided food to individuals and families in the community. Families comprise 63% of the people served, and nearly 40% of all the food distributed is for children. On the third Monday of each month, through the Senior Choice Food program, seniors can shop exclusively at our pantry with the assistance of a staff member or volunteer.
• Open Door Social Services – Working with Open Pantry's other programs, Open Door Social Services connects our community members to medical and behavioral health services, substance use counseling, recovery coaching, case management, legal kiosk, and permanent housing options.
• Young Parent Living Program – Since 1995, the program has assisted young parents (ages 14-21) in accessing resources and fostering long-term, realistic goals to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.
• Low Threshold Permanent Housing and Support Services – The program provides financial assistance to people experiencing homelessness to obtain proper identification and permanent housing.
For over 47 years, Open Pantry Community Services has served people in the greater Springfield community with a mission to provide fresh food, nutritious groceries, and supportive services to individuals and families who are food insecure. With soaring gas prices and a challenging winter heating season forthcoming, many will struggle to provide food on the table. No doubt, many will encounter this difficulty for the first time. Therefore, we need your help. Please support Open Pantry Community Services in our work to provide support to our Springfield neighbors. Your donation, no matter the amount, will make a world of difference to the people and families in need in our community.