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.

Aug 9, 2019

Joe's Story

As a successful chef, husband and father, Joe makes a good living. At different times in his life, however, Joe found himself in need of help. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Falmouth Service Center and The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB),” said Joe, the 32-year-old Falmouth native. Raised by a single mother, Joe said he often went to the Falmouth Service Center—which receives 80 percent of its food from GBFB—with his mother and brother as a child. “We lived paycheck to paycheck,” Joe said. “I remember her telling me that whenever she opened the doors to the Service Center, she always felt a welcoming feeling.” Decades later, Joe was married, had a 2-year-old son and was working at a restaurant on Cape Cod when he was suddenly fired.

“I was able to scrape by with some seasonal gigs, but it’s hard on the Cape in the off-season months,” he said. Over time, it became harder for Joe to pay his bills and put food on the table. “Finally, there came a day when I couldn’t provide for my family—one of my biggest fears in life,” Joe said. “It scared me to think about my son growing up without nutritious food.” At the recommendation of a friend, Joe turned to the Falmouth Service Center for help.

“When I walked through those sliding doors at the Service Center, the overwhelming feeling of being welcomed just hit me,” Joe said. For months, Joe took home bags full of high-quality food for his family, including fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy recipes to go along with them. Because of the help he received in his time of need, Joe was able to get back on his feet and is now an executive chef at a Falmouth restaurant. “I know that not only my family, but so many others around me have been helped by The Greater Boston Food Bank,” Joe said.

 
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