Thanks to our compassionate community of donors, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GFBB) has distributed over 310,000 grocery store cards to partner agencies across Eastern Massachusetts as part of our COVID-19 Emergency Response Program. We’re also on track to distribute over 63,000 grocery cards to help families enjoy traditional holiday meals this fall and winter.
Grocery cards, which are gift cards to local grocery stores, range in value from $20 – $40. These cards allow GBFB and our network to supplement our food distribution efforts with easy-to-distribute gift cards, which in turn allow clients to shop for their preferred items at local markets, meeting their specific cultural or dietary preferences. GBFB has begun purchasing grocery cards year-round as a pandemic response effort, but many additional cards are donated during the holiday season by our local retail partners. These relationships, with retailers such as BJ’s, Hannaford, Shaw’s/Star Market, Price Rite, Roche Bros., Stop & Shop, and Walmart, allow us to leverage your generosity to supply vulnerable communities with access to high-quality, nutritious food that meets their specific needs.
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in hungry families coming to pantries for food, and smaller agencies have struggled to handle higher distribution levels without additional facilities, volunteers, or vehicles. To ensure the strongest impact, our team identifies pantries based on circumstance and need to receive grocery cards.
Sue Kilcoyne, operations director of the Franklin Food Pantry, which had to close its doors for a short time said:
“The grocery cards came at the right moment, and we were able to support the individuals relying on the pantry during that time with a grocery card.”
Grocery cards are a powerful piece of our hunger-relief efforts, providing dignity through the power of choice. A client shared, “It was so helpful to get the fruits and veggies my family liked, and to be able to just walk in and purchase a gallon of milk that we needed.”
In addition to providing grocery cards to our network to help meet the increased need because of the pandemic, we distribute thousands of grocery cards, alongside turkeys and chickens, each holiday season to provide struggling families with the centerpiece of a holiday meal. This year, compared to pre-pandemic numbers, we’ve exponentially increased the amount of grocery cards distributed to families in need, going from 8,000 cards to over 60,000 cards.
In response to our grocery card program, Rich Green of St. Matthew’s Food Pantry said, “The impact these cards will have to our clients and community, will be a huge lift in support of the health and wellbeing of each family.”