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Keep the Open Pantry Open!

I'm writing in response to the Open Pantry crisis. I am the executive director of one of the local food programs who will be expected to "pick up the slack" if the Open Pantry reduces services.

The Community Survival Center in Indian Orchard is already doing more than our share of providing food security to the residents of Springfield. We are the only food program in the area open five full days a week. We are the only program offering special needs assistance to our senior population and to our youngest residents. We have assisted 3,061 Springfield households, some 7,500 people in the past 12 months. We have done this in conjunction with also offering food assistance to 2,000 people who are residents of Ludlow, Wilbraham and Hampden. Additionally, we provided assistance to over 36,000 residents of the Greater Springfield area in need of clothing and necessary household items.

Does the City realize or care what an addition of one-third of the Open Pantry's food clients would do to our agency and other smaller pantries? It would double the number of requests for food, which would double the amount of food needed at a time when donations are down and requests are already increasing. The additional expenses would be a hardship for all our programs. I am begging the City to help keep the Open Pantry open. The existence of the Survival Center and many other smaller agencies is dependent on the programs of the Open Pantry continuing to do the work they have done so well for so many years.

Chris Cargile

Director, Community Survival Center

Indian Orchard