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GBFB’s Response to COVID-19

As our community responds to this unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) remains committed to its mission of providing healthy food to anyone in need and ending hunger across Eastern Massachusetts.

Throughout the month of March, as this crisis has worsened, GBFB has doubled its efforts and remains undeterred in its ability to serve healthy food to those who need it. Our food supply chain and our network of more than 500 partner agencies across Eastern Massachusetts are strong.

Over the past few weeks we have seen a dramatic increase in demand from our partner agencies. GBFB distributed more food this March than in any other one-month span in its 40-year history. During the week of March 23, we distributed close to 2 million pounds of food, two-thirds of which was fresh produce, protein and dairy items, the food items that are often too expensive for struggling families to buy, and also the food they need most to maintain a healthy diet. We are currently distributing nearly 50 percent more food than we did at this time last year.

In the last two weeks, a staggering 329,000 people filed for unemployment in Massachusetts, just under 9 percent of the entire workforce. A poll of our partner agencies found that 70 percent are seeing either more new clients or current clients with increased need. We expect this number to grow, and that many people will be seeking food assistance for the first time in their lives.

What We’ve Done

• We have been purchasing more food, sometimes at higher prices, to meet this growing demand.
• We have added staff to our Warehouse and Transportation Teams to maintain this record level of distribution.
• Our Food Acquisition Team has been working around the clock to receive donations from shuttered restaurants, businesses and schools and redirecting it back to those who need it.
• We are doubling, in some cases quadrupling, our food deliveries for several direct service program sites, including School-based Pantries which serve children and families who no longer have access to school meals.
• Our federal entitlements team is processing record numbers of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) applications – a primary source for hunger relief.
• Our Public Affairs Team is working with the other food banks in Massachusetts and with state and federal officials to track and advocate for additional financial support for hunger relief.
• As some of our agencies have been forced to temporarily shut down due to this crisis, we have found innovative solutions to pack “grab and go” boxes of food that can be safely delivered through a no-contact drive-through distribution model to ensure we are safely getting healthy food to people who need it.

How You Can Help

Donate money. We don’t know how long this crisis will last and we expect it to get worse before it gets better. Every dollar you give can help us provide three healthy meals to someone in need.

Donate time. We are in need of healthy individuals to help us sort and package food for people in need, especially for vulnerable groups like seniors. Visit our volunteer page to see if you can help at GBFB or one of our partner agencies in your community.

If you, or anyone you know, are in need of food, you use our Partner Agency Locator to find the food assistance agencies in your community.

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