The Greater Boston Food Bank has long been a resource for those experiencing food insecurity. Now, as the state continues to close schools and temporarily shut down institutions — limiting students’ access to breakfast and lunch and threatening paychecks — the food bank is in even greater demand for its services.
And they need more than cans of corn.
“Money is the most important thing,” said CEO Catherine D’Amato. “It allows us to do two very key pieces: It keeps the trains running, the daily operations we do every day. And [it helps] the additive crisis that’s occurring, which is like a tsunami hitting every state, every city, in terms of its uncertainty — how much food is going to be needed, where does the food go, and all the logistics associated with that.”
D’Amato shared that the food bank has surveyed the 500-plus hunger-relief agencies that it works with across the state, and that most are seeing a significant increase in demand as families and individuals prepare for the coming weeks. To best facilitate distribution, the food bank is working with some of its larger agencies — The Open Door in Gloucester, United Way in Framingham, and the American Red Cross Food Pantry in Boston, among others — to bring more food to their centers. All of that, D’Amato said, requires money.
“The money helps us purchase food,” she said. “The act of donating food isn’t going to get us out of this situation. It’s not a can of tuna fish; it’s 10,000 cans of tuna fish. So that’s where the dollar allows us to really act quickly.”
Donations can be made on the food bank’s website.
For those who find themselves in need of food relief, the food bank offers a food assistance locator to track down the nearest pantry, community meal program, or food assistance program. D’Amato also encourages people to use Mass 211 and the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333).
“[COVID-19] is just a very different crisis, because it’s containing people and keeping them from engaging people on a large scale basis,” D’Amato said. “It’s not a crisis where there’s no food in the system. It’s how do we get the food in the system to the people who need it, and it’s throughout our whole state.”