Like thousands of other Massachusetts residents, Keith lost his job at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. A self-employed single dad in the construction business, he suddenly had to worry how he was going to pay his bills and put food on the table for himself and his 7-year-old son.
“With COVID, not a lot of people want you working in their house, so the jobs stopped. And it took a while for me to get unemployment because I’m self-employed,” Keith said.
Driving by the YMCA one day in his hometown of Lowell, Keith saw a line of cars wrapped around the building of people waiting to get food. Keith asked the Y if he could get food and offered to help hand it out too.
“This food saves me so much money at the grocery store and it helps pay bills,” Keith said. “The bills don’t stop, so this little bit helps. A couple meals go a long way.”
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) provides food to more than 500 partner agencies across Eastern Massachusetts. When the pandemic caused a sudden increase in food insecurity, we helped even more organizations set up new Mobile Markets to get food to people in their community, like the Greater Lowell Family YMCA.
“We would probably end up eating less if it wasn’t for this,” Keith said. “My son loves all the fruits and veggies, so it’s nice to know he’s getting a healthy meal.”
Keith volunteered at the weekly market, helping unload pallets of food, sort them into boxes and bags, and place them into people’s cars for a safe, contactless food distribution.
“I keep volunteering for the people. Knowing that you’re able to help is the biggest thing,” Keith said. “Without volunteers there is no pantry.”
Keith said he hopes to get back on his feet and back to work soon, but with unemployment still at historic levels, many in Eastern Massachusetts are still struggling. With your help, we can continue getting food to our neighbors in need.