New food pantry opens in downtown Holyoke
The United Way of Pioneer Valley and Holyoke Community College have joined to open a food pantry in downtown Holyoke.
The new Holyoke Community Cupboard, which is located in the basement of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, is available to help feed those in need in the surrounding community, including HCC students and neighbors outside of the city.
Emmanuel Reyes, outreach manager of the United Way, spearheaded this project. He made sure that alongside the usual dry, shelf food staples, the pantry would stock fresh and frozen ingredients as well.
"When I say frozen goods I mean like fish, steak, chicken, like whole chicken. We have refrigerated goods such as spinach, cheese, fruits and vegetables as well. So the reason why we like to provide those as well, is because we can help the community save money when they go to the supermarket,” he said.
The Community Cupboard is hosting live cooking demonstrations by HCC's culinary students, showing how to make healthy meals with food from the pantry. They also partnered with the Holyoke Medical Center to create a cookbook of healthy recipes.
“We’re hoping, moving forward, that we can have more food demonstrations for the community, to end the stigma of food pantries providing unhealthy foods,” Reyes said.
The food pantry is located at 164 Race St. and is open on Thursdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. In the couple of weeks they have been open, the Community Cupboard has already provided food to around 40 people.
“We are able to fight food insecurity in the Pioneer Valley. It's truly a blessing and we're just happy and fulfilled that we’re able to assist the community of Holyoke and Chicopee and Springfield," Reyes said.