May 14, 2019

Robert's Story


Your Donation Helps Seniors in Need 

After working his entire life, Bob retired a few years ago and gets by solely on social security— which is often difficult with the cost of living in Massachusetts. Living alone and on a fixed income, Bob struggles to make ends meet.

“These times are tough. I run into quite a few people who have financial problems because their retirement income doesn’t match what their expenses are,” he said.
About three years ago while speaking to a neighbor, Bob learned about a Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) program at a church in his hometown of Taunton. For the last three years, Bob has been getting healthy food at GBFB’s Brown Bag distribution there. He said it makes a big difference in his life. 

Bob receives healthy food from a volunteer at the Brown Bag distribution for seniors in Taunton.
“I’d essentially have to go without food if I didn’t have this,” Bob said. “I live alone, and the rent is a huge expense. If this wasn’t here, the alternative would be to go without.”
Once a month, volunteers distribute bags of nutritious food from GBFB to seniors in need at the Brown Bag. GBFB operates 15 Brown Bag sites across Eastern Massachusetts reaching 6,450 senior households every month. 

According to Bob, the food at the Brown Bag usually lasts him about two weeks.
“I can make ends meet, but it’s difficult some months when you have unexpected expenses like car repairs or medicine,” he said. “It’s overwhelming at times when you don’t have the resources to fall back on.”

Bob said the best part about the market is how fresh all the food is. He said items like vegetables, chicken and grains are his favorites. “It’s not an obligation for anybody to do this,” Bob said about the people who operate the Brown Bag. “So, I’m very grateful.”

Feb 19, 2019

Marla's Story

After a routine surgery two years ago, Marla, 49, from Dorchester, found herself unable to physically keep up with her job as a mental health worker. Suddenly an unemployed single mother, Marla struggled to provide for her four children. 

After she lost her job, a friend introduced her to the American Red Cross Food Pantry in Dorchester. Marla said at first, she was apprehensive about going to a food pantry, something she had never done before. 

“In my head I thought, ‘oh my, what if someone who knows me sees me.’ I was almost embarrassed,” Marla said. But with her friend’s help, Marla decided to go to the Red Cross Food Pantry and said it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

“The people who run the pantry make you feel loved and welcomed when you’re there,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial for me, so I can focus on other things and not worry about ‘do I have enough food to put on the plate for my children’.” Marla goes to the pantry once a month and takes home four shopping bags full of healthy food like carrots, apples, pineapples and center-of-the-plate protein items like chicken and fresh fish. 

“I usually can’t get fresh fish unless I buy it, and that’s expensive,” she said. “The food generally lasts a long time and it really cuts down my supermarket bill.” 

Marla recently began working as a certified nurse assistant in Milton. Because of that, she no longer qualifies for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) money. So while she has money coming in, she still has trouble making ends meet. 

“Getting the extra help when I’ve needed it from the pantry has been amazing,” Marla said. “I’ve had to worry about paying the bills and keeping the lights on, but I didn’t have to worry about food.”

Oct 25, 2018

Marc's Story

Marc worked in a textile mill in Fall River for 40 years, until it abruptly closed two years ago. He suddenly found himself out of a job and struggling to put food on the table for himself and his wife.

Marc began collecting unemployment benefits, through which he was able to attend classes at Bristol Community College to earn his high school equivalency diploma.

“I wasn’t thinking about this a few years ago. I figured I was all set for the rest of my life,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d have to go back to school and do this again.”

While attending classes at Bristol Community College, Marc heard about the Mobile Market run by the school in partnership with The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Every month, Marc and hundreds of other students attend a farmer’s market-style distribution at the school where each participant can take home 30 to 35 pounds of nutritious food—including meat, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s a nice thing to come down here and get a few groceries if you’re struggling,” said Marc, who has been attending the market for about year.

“We cut back on a lot of stuff after I lost my job. This helps out now every month,” he said. “It’s a little less we have to buy when we can get vegetables like corn, potatoes, celery, it all adds up.”

Now Marc takes classes at college while supplementing his food budget at home. According to him, the food he gets from the Mobile Market usually lasts him and his wife a week or two.

“I’m not the only one; there are other people in this boat,” Marc said. “Things are tough today for some people. And it hurts, people are struggling.”

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