The Power of Partnerships

Published on May 8, 2024

In the heart of Eastern Massachusetts, where the need for food assistance is growing, powerful partnerships thrive, fueled by a shared mission: to end hunger and serve communities in need. An essential part of this collaboration is The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB)’s Community Investment Grant Program, designed to empower its network of agency partners to expand their reach and impact. In the face of escalating food insecurity, these grants have become indispensable, enabling partners to bolster their services and deliver nutritious meals to even more neighbors in need. Through strategic investments in both single-year and multi-year grants, GBFB strives to equip agencies with the resources and support they need to tackle hunger head-on. 

“This grant program continues to evolve as we recognize our opportunity to cause and effect change and to better meet the specific needs of our agency partners and the communities they serve,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. “By investing in our essential partner agencies through grantmaking, we aim to target high populations of need and empower and equip them to dream bigger about the impact they can have in driving out hunger across Eastern Massachusetts.” 

The Community Investment Grant Program is comprised of three types of grants:  

  • Infrastructure Grants fund capital expenditures, such as equipment and technology, to enhance agency capacity. 
  • Organizational Grants support operational needs, like staffing and administrative costs. 
  • Transformational Grants are multi-year financial commitments aimed at fostering high-impact agencies serving key regions of need in Eastern Massachusetts. Over the years, GBFB has witnessed remarkable results in response to these investments, and in particular, in its ability to serve its network regionally by making the following transformational grant investments: 
YMCA Mystic Community Market

YMCA Mystic Community Market

GBFB’s first multi-year investment in 2019, right before the pandemic, the YMCA Mystic Community Market was a visionary endeavor that arose from a serendipitous encounter in 2017 that blossomed into a guiding light for Medford and its surrounding communities. Through a three-year financial commitment from GBFB, this partnership has been a catalyst for change in the communities they serve—Medford, Malden, Everett, Somerville and Chelsea—resulting in over 9.1 million pounds of food being distributed within the first four years. When the pantry first opened, they distributed just over 386,946 pounds of healthy food to neighbors in need. Now, the Mystic Community Market is consistently one of GBFB’s top food distribution partners. 

Once one of the cities with the highest unmet gap in food security in Eastern Massachusetts (ranking in the top three for GBFB’s service area), Medford is now no longer even on the list. This partnership also was also the first collaboration GBFB had with a YMCA, which sparked many fruitful regional YMCA partnerships during the pandemic with the YMCA of Greater Boston, The Full Plate Project in the South Coast, among others. Read more about our YMCA partnership here. 


Rendering of the Seacoast Food Hub

Seacoast Food Hub

Our Neighbors’ Table (ONT) has utilized another three-year Transformational Grant to catalyze change in the Lower Merrimack Valley. By investing in a new building in Salisbury called the Seacoast Regional Food Hub, which opened in March of 2024, ONT will not only better serve the people they support in northern Essex County, but also support 30 additional GBFB partners agencies to serve over 30,000 food-insecure residents across the Seacoast. This investment not only strengthens the charitable food system but also heralds a new dawn of hope for countless families across the North Shore region. Learn more about the Seacoast Regional Food Hub here. 

Damien’s Food Pantry

Our most recent transformational investment, Damien’s Food Pantry in Wareham, is another GBFB partner agency that is making big moves to help end hunger on the South Coast of Massachusetts with the food bank playing a pivotal role providing a three-year Community Investment Grant. 

Damien’s recently opened a new food pantry and warehouse in April 2024 that will transform the way that they serve people on the South Coast of Massachusetts. The new food pantry empowers guests by providing healthy food in a full choice environment that resembles a grocery store, allowing guests to choose the food that best meets their cultural or dietary preferences. 

The new Damien’s also has additional warehouse space to allow smaller pantries to pick up food from GBFB, strengthening the entire network of food pantries on the South Coast. 

GBFB COO Cheryl Schondek at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Damien’s Food Pantry.

Through these transformative partnerships and strategic investments, GBFB and its community partners are not just alleviating hunger—they’re building a brighter, more resilient future for Eastern Massachusetts, one meal at a time. 

Each one of these strategic partnerships is transforming how GBFB operates within our Eastern Massachusetts community, enabling us to scale up to serve the high demand for food assistance regionally. Without the generous support of our donors and community, we would not be able to make these transformative investments in our hub-and-spoke model.  

Together, we have the power to end hunger here.  



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