The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) honored its most dedicated volunteers, donors, agencies, and advocates at its annual Partner Appreciation Day on Friday, Oct. 27.
Without our system of supporters, GBFB could not distribute the nearly 61 million pounds of healthy food it delivered this year to those struggling with hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.
Congratulations to this year’s award winners, listed below. And thank you to all our supporters who make our work possible!
Shaw’s and Star Market topped the list of our food donors this year—donating over 908,000 pounds of food—a 200 percent increase over the previous year. That is the equivalent of 757,000 healthy meals. Over the past four years, they have also contributed a total of $110,000 to two of our marquee fundraising events, Women Fighting Hunger and Festival.
BJ’s has been a partner with GBFB for more than 15 years. During that time BJ’s has contributed more than 5.3 million pounds of food to GBFB. This year, GBFB received a generous $100,000 grant from BJ’s to support our member agencies’ equipment needs. The new equipment will enable the pantries to exponentially increase their capacity to store and distribute perishable foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.
PR Management owns and operates 64 Panera Bread restaurants in New England. This year, the company conducted a successful cause-marketing campaign in support of GBFB. Donation boxes were placed at the registers of each of its Panera Bread franchises. Through the donations and a matching gift from PR Management, they raised $100,000 for GBFB.
Jeremiah is a video producer and owner of Clyde Media Productions. Over the past year, Jeremiah has filmed several GBFB events and helped create videos of GBFB’s direct service programs—our Mobile Markets, our School-based Pantries, and our two programs for seniors—as well as a video to support our advocacy work. All of his filming and editing work was done at no charge to GBFB.
For the past four years, Ocean State Job Lot has donated annually to GBFB nearly half a million pounds of food—the equivalent of more than 400,000 healthy meals a year. Much of the food Ocean State Job Lot donates to us comes from its Three Square Meals program, which provided the equivalent of 10.4 million meals to food banks in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey this year.
The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is one of GBFB’s largest member agencies. Last Thanksgiving, the Red Cross was the top agency participant in our seasonal produce program, distributing nearly 100,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in a three-week period. In April, a partial ceiling collapse closed their indoor food pantry, which served 1,000 families a week. The Red Cross improvised and for the next three months ran 27 outdoor distributions in a nearby park.
Kathi Maio has volunteered at GBFB nearly every Tuesday for the past four years. She retired in 2013 after 29 years as a reference librarian at Suffolk University. Kathi has helped with every type of volunteer project we offer, both at GBFB and off-site. She often helps train volunteers and lead group projects.
In the past four years, MFS has spent more than 600 hours volunteering a GBFB, and sorted a total of 88,000 pounds of donated food—the equivalent of over 70,000 meals. Just two weeks ago, the MFS team came to GBFB for their 2017 Day of Service. A total of 90 team members sorted 31,658 pounds of food—the equivalent of 26,261 healthy meals.
Sen. Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2014, and has quickly become our lead advocate in the Senate for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP). When the governor reduced MEFAP to $17 million in the FY18 state budget through a line item veto, Sen. Lesser led the successful effort to override that veto.
Rep. Madaro was elected to the Legislature in 2015, representing East Boston. Last year, he coordinated an informational meeting between GBFB and the president of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. As a result, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is now one of our nine healthcare center partners and conducts patient food insecurity screenings.