Over the past two years, GBFB distributed more food than ever before in our 40-year history. The demand was so great, and we wanted to do more, but we had limited labor and warehouse space. So, in 2020, GBFB expanded our Grocery Card Program, purchasing gift cards from a variety of grocery stores across Eastern Massachusetts, which food pantries could distribute to their clients.
Thanks to your support, the grocery cards are preloaded with $40, which people can use to purchase anything they need, from meat and dairy to baby formula, at markets like Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Star Market, Market Basket and Walmart. Clients can also purchase culturally responsive food that they may not get at their food pantry. The cards proved so popular, we jumped from distributing about 8,000 cards in 2020 to nearly 290,000 cards in FY21.
These cards are not intended to replace the critical food distributions at pantries, but they are a supplement to help individuals and families keep food on the table each month. They’re also easy for our partners to store and distribute. Just as important, because the cards look like any other gift card, they ensure the dignity of the people we serve.