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.”

Jul 31, 2018

Irma's Story

Irma and Daisy
Irma and Daisy

Roughly 1 in 10 residents of Lynn is food insecure. This means that 9,800 people living there cannot be sure day to day where their next meal is coming from. In a city where 20 percent of the population lives in poverty, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) works tirelessly with community partners to provide nutritious food for all those in need.

In the last 12 months, GBFB distributed 1.2 million pounds of food in the city of Lynn, or the equivalent of 980,000 healthy meals. GBFB works with over a dozen partners at 20 different sites in Lynn to reach many different types of populations. In addition to food pantries, meal programs and emergency shelters, GBFB distributes healthy food at a  community college, community health center, senior center and an elementary school in Lynn.

Having a pantry impacts our school community directly, by attacking one of the most difficult academic barriers to learning, which is hunger,” said Laura Sanchez, social worker at the Connery School in Lynn, the site of one of GBFB’s nine School-based Pantries. “We are lucky to have this service.” The School-based Pantry in Lynn has been helping schoolchildren and their families for 5 years. Nearly 100 families take home 40 pounds of nutritious food every month. This year, for the first time ever, the pantry will distribute food during
the summer, helping families through the toughest time of the year.

Irma and her husband, Roberto, live paycheck to paycheck putting food on the table for their three small children in Lynn. Roberto has worked the same job as a hotel maintenance manager for 37 years. While he has steady employment, the family struggles to keep up with their rising rent and the high cost of living in Eastern Massachusetts. Irma, 38, said the family sometimes runs out of food at the end of the month as expenses add up and their food budget bottoms out. “Between paying bills, rent and everything else, we’re
just trying to survive,” she said.

Since 2014, The Greater Boston Food Bank has partnered with the Connery Elementary School in Lynn to run a monthly School-based Pantry for families in need. Irma’s three children—Casey, 13; Roberto, 12; and Daisy,
5—all either attended or currently attend the Connery School. Her two older children even volunteered at the School-based Pantry, helping carry boxes and bags of food, when they were members of the student council.

“This is a really rewarding opportunity for us,” Irma said. “It always helps out at the end of the month when we run out of food to fill our pantry.” Irma and other families at the school take home about 40 pounds of nutritious
food every month from the free, farmers market-style distribution. “We’re able to get a lot of vegetables from the pantry. Daisy loves the broccoli,” Irma said. “We also get milk, eggs, pasta, potatoes… we use everything
we bring home.”


The food usually lasts the family about two weeks, according to Irma. “[The School-based Pantry] helps financially because we’re running around trying to make ends meet,” she said. “And this helps us feed our kids.”

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Apr 25, 2018

Joan's Story

Joan
Joan

The rising cost of living in Eastern Massachusetts makes it hard for many low-income families to put food on the table. It’s even harder with three generations under the same roof.

Joan, 67, and her retired husband, both disabled, welcomed their son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren into their South Shore home. However it proved a tight fit, and the multi-generational family moved to a larger apartment in Plymouth.

With a bigger household, the family’s food budget became overstretched. “Being disabled and not working put a real big strain on us financially and we needed some help,” Joan said. Shortly after moving to Plymouth, Joan started supplementing the family’s weekly food budget with trips to the Plymouth Salvation Army food pantry. One of 10 local member agencies, the pantry receives roughly 85 percent of the food it distributes from The Greater Boston Food Bank.

“The food pantry has been a godsend,” Joan said. “It’s been a huge help to us.” Joan takes home six bags of food every month for her and her family, which helps them get through the month on the family’s limited income. “We get meat, vegetables, milk, all nutritious stuff,” she said.

Her grandchildren especially love the fresh fruits and vegetables. Her 12-year-old grandson’s favorite is beets, and her 10-year-old granddaughter’s is brussels sprouts. “It helps our family eat a well-balanced meal, which is especially important when you have little kids,” Joan said. “They need to eat right. The food pantry’s been a lifesaver."

Joan at the Plymouth Salvation Army Food Pantry
Joan at the Plymouth Salvation Army Food Pantry

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