$20,000 grant to help Springfield Rescue Mission get new refrigerated truck | News


SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Despite this week’s warm-up, colder months are upon us and that is expected to impact local organizations who work those in need. That includes the Springfield Rescue Mission, a group that has also been impacted by the coronavirus. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Springfield Rescue Mission has seen demand for its services grow and they said they’ve been able to meet the need thanks to their volunteers.

“We’ve had a lot of church support, we’ve had a lot of volunteer support once COVID restrictions started to dissipate a little, but it has increased as far as the food network and what’s needed here in the community,” said Springfield Rescue Mission Executive Director Kevin Ramsdell.

During the height of the pandemic, Ramsdell told Western Mass News that they doubled the number of vehicles making deliveries around the city, as well as added a second meal for those in need.

“We now have breakfast and sit-down lunch, which has not been done in the past. We’re averaging around 35 to 40 for breakfast and somewhere from 20 to 25 for the lunch,” Ramsdell explained.

Springfield Rescue Mission table 111119

Western Mass News photo

On Tuesday, the rescue mission accepted a $20,000 grant from Country Bank. The money will go towards a new refrigerated box truck, which will allow the mission to accept more dairy items.

“It’s something we had to give up during the summer months because none of us had a refrigerated truck to move it, so this will definitely help us not only with the provisions here, but with giving them out to people in the city,” Ramsdell added.

Country Bank officials said they know the money is going towards a good cause.

“Food, shelter, clothing…you know we’re reminded of how fragile those things can be and how to never take them for granted,” said Country Bank Senior Vice President Ben Leonard.

As for the rescue mission, they are working with the city of Springfield as they gear up for the winter.

“We are anticipating more need for food. With the eviction mandate being lifted, we anticipate more people will be walking the streets, looking for a safe place for when the temperatures drop, just to come in and warm up,” Ramsdell said.

Rescue mission officials said one issue hindering them during the pandemic is capacity restrictions at their shelter on Taylor Street. They’re currently only allowed to be at 50-percent capacity, which is about two dozen people on a nightly basis. They expect the need to grow as the weather gets colder.

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