High School Service Learning Week ~ Survival CenterOn our arrival at the Northampton Survival Center, we were given an extensive tour of the facility, learning about how NSC operates. Students were fascinated to learn that it is a choice-based food pantry, meaning that clients select what they want to bring home within each food category (dairy, vegetables, soups), depending on the size of their families. The huge produce selection and attention to details, like having birthday cakes available for those who were celebrating or anticipating a birthday, were also topics of lively discussion as we settled into work. We spent the morning making reusable grocery bags for clients to use, made of recycled feedbags and old t-shirts. So, some students folded bags, others put them together with grommets, and still others fashioned handles from strips of t-shirts. The students were amazed at the scope of the operation, worked hard, and had fun knowing they were a part of the success of the Center that day.

High School Service Learning Week ~ Survival CenterBack on campus, other students were working with Naomi Henderson in the art room designing and making Valentines, Birthday, and Thank You cards for distribution at the Survival Center. The process involved carving original block prints, then inking the blocks and “printing” several dozen cards in bright colors. On the day they were delivered, they were received with delight by the clients at the Survival Center, who find the expense of cards—especially beautiful, artful ones–outside their customary budget.

Liz Bedell and Mary Kay Costello