One in 8 residents of Eastern Massachusetts is expected to experience food insecurity in 2020 as a result of the impact of COVID-19. As the demand for food during the COVID-19 crisis continues to rise, we, at The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), remain committed to our mission. We are in ongoing communication with our partners, staff and volunteers to maintain safe practices that will ensure healthy food continues to be distributed to our neighbors in need.
On Monday, March 23, 2020, food banks, our partner hunger-relief agencies and our volunteers were among the entities named by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts as essential service providers. Because of this important exemption in Governor Baker’s Stay-At-Home Order, we expect to remain fully operational so we can continue serving our community.
GBFB continues to work alongside our 500+ partner hunger-relief agencies, including food pantries, community meal programs and other food assistance providers throughout the nine counties and 190 towns and cities across Eastern Massachusetts. If you, or anyone you know, are in need of food, you can visit GBFB.org/need-food to find a list of food assistance options in each community we serve.
The health and safety of our team members, agency partners, food donors and visitors is our first priority. Because the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure, we strongly encourage you to continue to take the following precautions as recommended by the CDC:
We continue to ask for volunteers who are healthy and can help with our critical mission while adhering to social distancing and other guidelines from local, state and federal sources. We are currently limiting volunteer shifts to groups of 10 individuals per shift.
As a food distribution facility that acquires and distributes millions of pounds of food for our neighbors in need across Eastern Massachusetts, GBFB is a critical front-line first responder for our neighbors in need.
As an AIB-certified organization, GBFB already operates under the utmost stringent health and safety measures.
The extra steps we’ve taken to mitigate the potential spread of the virus in our building and to our clients includes, but is not limited to, the following:
We are confident that these extra steps, combined with our already strict approach to health and safety, will allow us to continue serving our clients as we closely monitor and navigate this developing situation.
We are fully committed to keeping our Eastern Massachusetts community safe and making sure they receive the nutritious food they need to thrive.
As the situation continually develops, we are moving quickly to identify and implement changes to our food distributions that are measured, safe and scalable so we can better serve our community during this crisis. We are continuing to hold distributions with our partner network, closely monitoring recommendations from the CDC, Feeding America and our local health departments and making any necessary adjustments. GBFB is working with our partners to make sure they can stay open. If a distribution is canceled, clients can visit the ‘Need Food’ page on GBFB.org to find out the closest location to them that is operating.
GBFB is committed to providing free, nutritious food to anyone in need – even if they’ve never needed our services before or only need them temporarily. To find out where the nearest food distribution is or how to apply for SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps), our neighbors can visit GBFB.org/NeedFood or download GBFB’s Food Finder Resource Sheet, which contains information on food resources across Eastern Massachusetts such as MASS211.
In addition, Boston311 is a hotline available to Boston residents. If you live in Boston, you can dial 3-1-1.
For a list of local schools that are still providing meals to children during the COVID-19 closures visit Project Bread’s Meals for Kids website or if you live the City of Boston you can also visit this website.
Volunteers at The Greater Boston Food Bank play a critical role in helping to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts, and their role is even more critical now given the COVID-19 crisis. To ensure the safety of volunteers and our front-line staff we’ve instituted the following changes to our volunteer program:
Anyone who answers “Yes” to any of the questions will be asked not to enter the building.
At this time we do not recommend that seniors (65+) or anyone with a chronic health condition volunteer. If you belong to one of these groups and would still like to help the food bank during this time, you can donate online.
Throughout the month of March, as this crisis has worsened, GBFB has doubled its efforts and remains undeterred in its ability to serve healthy food to those who need it. Our food supply chain and our network of more than 500 partner agencies across Eastern Massachusetts are resilient.
Over the past few weeks we have seen a dramatic increase in demand from our partner agencies. GBFB distributed more food this March than in any other one-month span in its 46-year history. During the week of March 23, we distributed close to 2 million pounds of food, two-thirds of which was fresh produce, protein and dairy items, the food items that are often too expensive for struggling families to buy, and also the food they need most to maintain a healthy diet. We are currently distributing nearly 50 percent more food than we did at this time last year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.
If you would like to join our many generous supporters in the effort to provide hunger relief during the COVID-19 crisis, you can do so in the following ways:
At this time we have made the decision to no longer accept walk-in food donations at our warehouse. In an effort to enforce social distancing standards, we cannot manage additional foot traffic in our lobbies and warehouses. Please consider making a financial donation instead.