COVID-19 Response

We are responding to the increasing demand for food while taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of our community. We are in this together.

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.

Link to find food assistance in your 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 to find a list of food assistance options in each community we serve.


Individual GivingCorporate GivingIndividual VolunteersVolunteer through BostonCaresBecome a member agency

We are in this together.
making a positive impact during the COVID-19 crisis. 


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:

  • Remain six (6) feet away from others at all times;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick;
  • Refrain from shaking hands with others for the time being;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay informed: You can learn more about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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:

  • Working closely under the guidance of and in coordination with Feeding America and our peer New England food banks, as well as actively consulting the CDC, FEMA, and the state and federal Department of Public Health who are in a position to support measures to ensure access to food for the most vulnerable members of our communities during this situation.
  • Holding daily meetings with our leadership team to monitor new developments and adapt our operations accordingly.
  • Asking volunteers and visitors who’ve recently traveled outside of the U.S. in the last 14 days, or who have been in close contact with someone who has or may have contracted COVID-19 to refrain from visiting our building for at least two weeks
  • Requiring all visitors to GBFB to sanitize their hands upon entering the building.
  • Deployed a temporary work-from-home policy for employees that can do their jobs from home in order to keep our warehouse and essential employees safe and healthy.
  • Reminding all employees to stay home unless they feel 100% healthy.
  • We’ve hired extra cleaners and are distributing extra hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes throughout our facility.

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.


How is GBFB serving its clients during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Are you planning to cancel any of your food distributions?

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 to find out the closest location to them that is operating.

Where can I go if I need food?

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 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.

Do you need volunteers? If I come and volunteer, what should I expect?

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:

  • Our group and Families for Impact volunteering opportunities are temporarily suspended (please check back in a few weeks for information about these programs).
  • Volunteer shifts will be limited to groups of 10 individuals per shift.
  • We will provide volunteers with disposable gloves.
  • Volunteer tasks will focus on high need/critical projects like our CSFP and Brown Bag boxes for seniors and our food sorting projects.
  • Volunteers will be asked to sanitize their hands upon entering the building.
  • Volunteers are also asked three questions before they enter the building:
      1. Are you currently experiencing, or have you experienced within the last 14 days, a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms of respiratory illness?
      2. Have you or anyone in your household traveled out of the country or to a known “hot spot” in the US within the last 14 days?
      3. Have you or anyone in your household been in close contact (i.e., within 6 feet for a prolonged period of time or having direct contact with infectious secretions, e.g. being coughed on) with anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?

Anyone who answers “Yes” to any of the questions will be asked not to enter the building.

Can seniors still volunteer at GBFB?

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.

Have you seen an increase demand in food during this crisis
compared to your ‘business as usual’ distribution?

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.

Can the virus be transmitted through food?

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.

I am interested in donating money to support GBFB.
Can you point me to the easiest way to do that?

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:

Make an individual donation
Form a team and fundraise
Donate through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)
See if your Employer will Match Your Donation

Are you still accepting non-perishable food donations?

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.

Where can I get more information about coronavirus?


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