Nov 24, 2020

Your Support Helps Working Families

Cynthia and her boyfriend moved from New Jersey to New Bedford four years ago because it was cheaper to live, had more opportunities to work, and they wanted to start a family.

Like many working families, however, Cynthia and her boyfriend struggle to make ends meet and provide for their three young daughters.

“When our family started growing, so did our expenses,” she said.

Cynthia works as a medical assistant in the pediatrics department at The Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, where The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) holds one of its Mobile Markets—a free, monthly, farmer’s market-style food distribution. Cynthia said she looks forward to the Mobile Market for two reasons: how much money it saves her family, and the quality of the food.

“I love the Mobile Market. You have no idea how much it helps families. It’s incredible how much money we save because everything is so expensive in the supermarket,” she said. “We have to teach our kids to eat healthy, but the most expensive stuff in the supermarket are fruits and veggies. A bag of chips or a bottle of soda is cheaper than healthy food. So that’s why everybody here loves the Mobile Market.”

Working in a health center during a pandemic is stressful, Cynthia said, but because helping people is her passion, she enjoys her work. Cynthia returned from maternity leave in the spring, after the birth of her third daughter.

“Everything I save on food I can spend on diapers, baby formula, things like that,” she said.

Cynthia said what she loves most is the variety and quality of the food she receives.

“I got bananas and apples this month, next month its melons,” she said. “It’s all so fresh and yummy.”

Cynthia said the entire community gets excited each month when it’s time for the Mobile Market.

“It helps all the families who come here, a lot of them aren’t working, especially now with everything going on,” she said. “You make so many families so happy with this Market.”

Sep 23, 2020

Providing for the People of Lowell

When the COVID-19 crisis began, there was an immediate increase in food insecurity and a need to get more food to more people. At The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) we helped create new food distributions with partners we hadn’t worked with before, at places like the Greater Lowell Family YMCA.

“We were in a position through being closed due to COVID to support the community in any way possible, so this was a perfect opportunity for us,” said Katherine Davis, senior program director for the Greater Lowell Family YMCA. “We had the space and staff and eagerness to make a meaningful impact in this time of need.”

We helped the YMCA hold eight Mobile Markets during the summer—its first-ever food distributions. Each week we delivered the food and volunteers at the YMCA would unpack, sort and box it, so it could be safely given to people in a contactless drive-through distribution. Davis said about 350 families were given nutritious food each week.

“Talking with the families each week, it seemed as though this was the first experience with food insecurity for many families,” Davis said.

 

In the past 12 months, we’ve distributed over 1.1 million pounds of food to our eight partner agencies in Lowell. Your generous gift is helping us make a deep impact in places like Lowell and put food on the table for the more than 650,000 food-insecure people in Eastern Massachusetts.

Jul 29, 2020

Kelly's Story

When Kelly’s husband lost his job at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, she wondered how she would be able to keep feeding her two young children. “I was in tears when it happened,” Kelly said. “My husband made a good living and I was worried about my kids going hungry.” She looked up resources online and found the Medway Village Food Pantry, located a short drive from her home. “Walking into the food pantry was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she said. “I’m usually the one donating to the
pantry, not using it.” On her first visit, however, Kelly said she felt welcomed, loved and a sense of community. “I was relieved to put food on the table for my kids,” she said. The Medway Food Pantry is one of the more than 500 pantries, meal programs and emergency shelters in Eastern Massachusetts served by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Kelly’s husband is now working full-time again. They
receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and still use the pantry about once a week. “It’s expensive to live in Massachusetts. I’m able to pay one or two extra bills with the money I save coming here,” she said. Kelly has also lost about 60 pounds in the last few years and attributes it to exercise and the healthy food she gets
at the pantry. “We get carrots and green beans, chicken, pasta—I always bake the chicken, never fried,” she said. Kelly said the pantry is more than just a place to get food, it’s a place where the community can support each other. Her son and daughter, now aged 18 and 19, sometimes come to volunteer at the pantry. “My son built the sign outside for his Eagle Scout project,” she added. “The pantry has been huge for us, They’ve seen me at many different stages of my life,” Kelly said. “I feel blessed and thankful for this place.”

 
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