Last year, GBFB distributed over 1.2 million pounds of a variety of donated meat products to those in need in Eastern Massachusetts. This provides that critical center-of-the-plate item that provides lots of nutrients but can be cost-prohibitive for struggling families.
“It’s the protein – the all-important chicken, or pork, or beef, or even tofu and beans – that the meal is built around,” said Cheryl Schondek, our Vice President of Food Acquisition and Supply Chain. “It’s also usually the most expensive item, which many in our community just can’t afford.”
Volunteers play an important role by assisting us to inspect, sort, and pack donated frozen meat products. Their donated time ensures that our neighbors in need have access to protein-dense foods they need to stay healthy.
“Helping us manage our donated meat inventory is just one of many special volunteer opportunities at GBFB, and a bit different from other volunteer shifts, which may involve sorting and packing fresh produce and grocery products in even higher volumes,” said Erin D’Loughy, GBFB’s Community Engagement Manager. “New volunteers sometimes seem a bit surprised that we provide these high-quality, frozen protein items. But when they think about it, and take into account how expensive meat can be, they understand it’s important to families who can’t afford it.”
GBFB has expanded its focus on center-of-the-plate options to also include frozen seafood, which is low in calories and fat, and easy to prepare. Last year, GBFB distributed close to 350,000 pounds of frozen seafood, an increase of more than 130% compared to five years ago.
Moving forward, a Seafood Sub-Committee comprised of representatives from the seafood community will advise GBFB on the best way to distribute more seafood.
“From Cape Cod to Gloucester, the Commonwealth’s fishing industry is huge,” said Schondek. “A goal is to better support local fishermen while offering those in need a nutritious food item that is essential to their ability to avoid hunger and stay active and healthy. That’s a win-win for all of us.”