One in 8 residents of Eastern Massachusetts is expected to experience food insecurity in 2020 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. As the demand for food 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.
GBFB continues to work alongside our more than 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.
We’ve taken extra steps to mitigate the potential spread of the virus in our building and to our clients, including:
We are confident that these extra steps, combined with our already strict approach to health and safety, will allow us to continue serve our clients.
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.
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.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, GBFB has experienced the five largest distribution months in its 40-year history for a total of nearly 49 million pounds of food distributed in only 5 months (over 40 million meals).
We are now seeing a greater reliance from our network on the food distributed by GBFB as donated food and other sources are more difficult to find. In 2019, we distributed about 1.3 million pounds a week. We are now averaging nearly 2.5 million pounds of food per week.
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:
In an effort to enforce social distancing standards and limit traffic in our lobbies and warehouses, we are no longer accepting walk-in food donations. This decision was made for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and partner agencies. We hope you will consider making a financial donation instead.
If you have already organized a food drive or have food you’re interested in donating, visit our Need Food page to find a partner agency in your area. We recommend calling ahead to find out if they’re accepting donations.
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