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.”

May 27, 2020

Aaron's Story

Nine years ago, when his wife Emma underwent surgery, Aaron left his job to stay at home and help her recover. He picked up part-time work and went back to school online, but with four kids to raise, Aaron and Emma struggled financially. 

At that time, Aaron and Emma met Marilyn Conley, then the pantry director of the Medway Village Food Pantry. Marilyn learned that Aaron and Emma needed some help and told them to come to the pantry, which has been serving families in Medway and surrounding towns since 2002.

“We’re so grateful for the pantry,” Emma said.

The pantry served over 6,000 people last year and gets more than half of its food from The Greater Boston
Food Bank (GBFB).

"They give you good healthy food, all different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, meats, all the great stuff," Emma said. "It definitely helps us save money and use it in different areas"

The family has been using the pantry since their children were small, but is especially helpful now that
their children are older, participating in sports and preparing for college.

According to Aaron and Emma, the pantry is more than just a place to get healthy food.

“It’s a blessing,” Aaron said. “The whole team at the Medway Village Food Pantry has been a great support to our family,” Aaron said.

“They treat us like we’re their family at the pantry. You come in and everybody is giving each other hugs,” Emma said.“It feels like a real community.”

 
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