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 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.

Link to find food assistance in your community

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 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. 


We’ve taken extra steps to mitigate the potential spread of the virus in our building and to our clients, including:

  • 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.
  • Holding weekly meetings with our leadership team to monitor new developments and adapt our operations accordingly.
  • Implementing an enhanced screening procedure with social distancing markers, QR codes that allow agencies and volunteers to pre-register, and questions before entering the building.
  • Requiring all visitors 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.
  • Using additional cleaning staff and 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 serve our clients.



Hunger can’t be the new normal


Keeping our network safe


Expanding our capacity


Distributing nutritious food


Strengthening policy



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.

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?

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.

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)
Find out if your employer will match your donation

Are you still accepting non-perishable food donations?

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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