When Kelly’s husband lost his job at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, she wondered how she would be able to keep feeding her two young children.
“I was in tears when it happened,” Kelly said. “My husband made a good living and I was worried about my kids going hungry.”
She looked up resources online and found the Medway Village Food Pantry, located a short drive from her home.
“Walking into the food pantry was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she said. “I’m usually the one donating to the pantry, not using it.”
On her first visit, however, Kelly said she felt welcomed, loved and a sense of community.
“I was relieved to put food on the table for my kids,” she said.
The Medway Food Pantry is one of the more than 500 pantries, meal programs and emergency shelters in Eastern Massachusetts served by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB).
Kelly’s husband is now working full-time again. They receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and still use the pantry about once a week.
“It’s expensive to live in Massachusetts. I’m able to pay one or two extra bills with the money I save coming here,” she said.
Kelly has also lost about 60 pounds in the last few years and attributes it to exercise and the healthy food she gets at the pantry.
“We get carrots and green beans, chicken, pasta—I always bake the chicken, never fried,” she said.
Kelly said the pantry is more than just a place to get food, it’s a place where the community can support each other. Her son and daughter, now aged 18 and 19, sometimes come to volunteer at the pantry.
“My son built the sign outside for his Eagle Scout project,” she added.
“The pantry has been huge for us, They’ve seen me at many different stages of my life,” Kelly said. “I feel blessed and thankful for this place.”
Featured image: Kelly brings home bags of fresh healthy food for her family every month thanks to the Medway Village Food Pantry, a GBFB partner agency.