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.”

Jan 28, 2020

A Family Keeps Food in the Cupboard Thanks To You

John worked his entire life building diesel engines in his hometown of Hanson. Recently retired, he and his wife live on a fixed income. When his wife got sick, the medical bills started piling up and the cupboards started emptying. “We were getting tight with bills and the co-pays were killing us,” John said. “Sometimes it’s a bad month and we’re looking at each other across the table with a can of soup in the middle.” To help him and his wife get through the month, John started going to the Hanson Food Pantry about three years ago. “The first time I came here I was amazed at what we get and how generous people are,” John said. The Hanson Food Pantry is one of the more than 300 food pantries in Eastern Massachusetts supported by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). The pantry gets over two-thirds of its food from GBFB. “We usually get an assortment of meat and pasta. You can get 2 or 3 meals out of the chicken,” John said. “And I know they bring in fresh fruits and vegetables when they can. I love my fruits and veggies.”

According to John, the pantry is especially helpful for Hanson families around this time of year. “They give us turkeys and all the stuff that goes with it during the holidays. They really make Thanksgiving for a lot of people,” he said. The pantry has helped John and his wife maintain a healthy diet and has kept them from making the impossible decision between paying their bills and buying food. “I think generosity is something that’s disappearing out there, so I would really like to thank the donors from the bottom of my heart,” John said.

Nov 4, 2019

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HUNGER AND HEALTH

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) Health and Research team recently launched a pilot project to connect food-insecure people with hunger-relief resources in their community, through their healthcare providers.

The team added a new feature called “Connect with Us” to the social services app HelpSteps—created by Boston Children’s Hospital along with the Boston Public Health Commission and MASS211 —that makes it easier for people in need to access healthy food.

When a patient goes to his or her doctor and is deemed food insecure, the doctor will refer the patient through HelpSteps to a local food pantry. Through “Connect with Us”, the patient will be automatically ready to receive food from a local GBFB member agency.

“Research has shown that a lot of people who need a pantry, don’t use a pantry. It’s shown that food insecurity is related to health, and that’s why we want the doctor screenings and referrals—to be part of care.”
~ Community Health and Research, GBFB

GBFB is partnering with a single clinic and food pantry in Harwich for this pilot project, but hopes to expand the feature to cover all 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts GBFB serves.

“This is outreach, to make the services available to more people,” said Chis Menard, executive director of The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, the GBFB member agency receiving referrals through this project. “For as big as we are, there’s still people who don’t know we exist.”

Medical research has shown that adults suffering from food insecurity are at higher risk for illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and depression. For children, it impairs their growth and development. We’re working to provide every person in need with enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.

This year, GBFB and the nonpartisan research organization Children’s HealthWatch, conducted a first-of-its-kind study on the health-related costs of hunger in Massachusetts. The study found that hunger cost the state $2.4 billion in 2016 alone.

 
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