When Tonya McKee tuned to the nightly news while preparing dinner with Jack, her three-year-old son, she didn’t anticipate it would lead to her son becoming the youngest Holiday Meal Drive participant in The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) history. McKee and Jack watched as members in their Needham community lined up to donate food at the local pantry. While watching the news cast Jack inquired why their neighbors were lining up with cans of beans and tuna in their hands. Tonya explained that, while Jack and their family had plenty to eat, people all over the community—including children and their mothers—did not have enough food to keep them full and nourished. She told Jack about how their neighbors and friends help by donating to GBFB. With simplicity, Jack declared they should join the effort.
Over the next four weeks, the McKee family along with many of Jack’s friends from his preschool, collected enough food to provide over 250 meals for individuals in need this holiday season. The children enthusiastically collected cans from the homes of their families and relatives, and relished in picking out food items at the grocery store that they knew would be going to families in need. “As parents, we took these moments to illustrate the importance of helping others, and the kids understood perfectly,” McKee said about collaborating with the other moms and dads at Jack’s preschool. For McKee and her husband, watching Jack lead this initiative was something very special, “My husband and I were surprised by the volume of food being donated—by our mailman, our families, and our neighbors. Jack was appreciative of every donation, but he wasn’t surprised, because he knew that helping people in need was the right thing to do. We had this incredible opportunity to see a glimmer of the adult he will become.” The McKee’s family mantra during the drive became, “If we can help, we help.”
GBFB is in the midst of our annual Holiday Meal Drive, a campaign to provide healthy meals to every person in need during the holiday season. Thus far, we have provided 28,780 holiday meals to individuals and families all over Eastern Massachusetts, with 16,220 more by the end of December to meet our goal of meals needed. We will reach this milestone through the generous supporters in our community who have donated cans, boxes, and dollars. For every $20 donation, GBFB can provide five nutritious holiday meals to those in need.
Jack’s story is important not only because he is our youngest supporter, but because it illustrates how everyone can have a role in ending hunger.
In the coming weeks, we hope you will join us—Jack, the McKee family and friends, and the hundreds of other Holiday Meal Drive participants – and help provide food for individuals struggling with hunger in our community. It is not too late to create a team of fundraisers from your workplace or community group, or to make a one-time donation to help ensure every person in need has a warm, nutritious meal this holiday season. Together, we can End Hunger Here.