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SPOON-FED:

Beneficiary Spotlight: How agencies are stepping up during COVID-19

Over the past few weeks, we have all been challenged by the disruptions and changes in our lives. Our team of Food Rescue Coordinators have been hard at work, adapting to meet the growing needs of our partner agencies. We asked our team to share stories of what they are seeing on the road each day. Below is what they shared about how our partners are stepping up to meet needs in the community.

Lisa shared the following stories about Project Soup and Live in Motion Cafe: 

Project Soup operates a food pantry and a community meal program in Somerville. Their pantry usually serves 15-20 families per day. However, right now they are serving 40-45 families per day.  They have seen “an incredible flood of need” in the midst of COVID and have been doing everything in their power to make sure this need is met. In addition to receiving deliveries from Lovin’ Spoonfuls, they are making more trips to the food bank, accepting more donations and, like many others, Project Soup has completely changed their pantry model to pre-packing bags to hand out to families. Project Soup is also seeking volunteers who can commit to a weekly shift. For more information on volunteer opportunities, click here

Live in Motion Cafe is part of the West End House Boys and Girls Club. They serve 200+ kids and teens during the school year and also prepare breakfast, lunch and snacks in the summer.  As all the schools have closed, West End House has continued to cook and provide meals 3 times/week to more than 150 families. They are hoping to pilot a delivery service soon in order to bring cooked meals and pantry items to the community.

Vinny shared an update about the work East Boston Community Soup Kitchen is doing in response to COVID:

Sandra at East Boston Community Soup Kitchen has been adapting to how her community in Eastie needs support through the pandemic.  It started by having the kitchen pivot from community meals to meals-to-go, and pivoting again to putting together grocery bags for families in need.  If her work at the soup kitchen were not enough, she aided local business and community partner Stars Branding in delivering groceries to around 140 families in East Boston.  The owners of Stars Branding were looking for ways to help their neighbors they saw struggling, and raised funds from local businesses to purchase staples like beans and rice.  In addition to helping put the bags together with Stars Branding, Sandra reached out to Lovin’ Spoonfuls to supplement the dry goods. We were able to provide close to 1,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and prepared meals to support this effort.

Catholic Charities is a partner that Reggie is delivering to 5 days a week now (up from 3 days typically):

The Catholic Charities food pantry at the Yawkey Center in Dorchester has seen a more than 50% increase in guests since the COVID outbreak began. Their service has become even more vital as other pantries in their neighboring community have been forced to stop operating. Beth, the pantry manager, has been amazed by the level of collaboration between guests and their volunteers. Everyone understands that we are all in it together. The variety of fresh produce and delicious prepared meals provided via Lovin’ Spoonfuls deliveries complement their essential offerings. Just today, Beth tried rambutan donated by Roche Bros. for the first time!

One of our newest FRCs, Abby, shared this update from the People Helping People Food Pantry in Burlington: 

During the very first weeks of the COVID-19 response in Greater Boston, I saw the People Helping People Food Pantry adapt their food distribution strategy to meet the needs of the growing emergency at hand. Choosing not to shut their doors in the face of the health crisis, the Food Pantry is instead continuing their operations while putting the safety of volunteers and community members first. They are mitigating the health risks associated with COVID-19 by implementing a drive-through pantry. The food distributed includes a combination of pre-packaged shelf-stable food and household items along with some pre-packaged produce and a short list of custom packed meat, dairy and fresh food. The pre-packaged items are staged in a POD next to the pantry building. When community members drive through the parking lot, and have made their selection of fresh food, pantry volunteers wearing PPE collect and load the items into their cars. Through their initial adaptability and cautious approach, the Food Pantry is able to continue to serve the community at a time when the need is especially great.   

These are just a few examples of how our community partners are responding during a great time of need. Since the beginning of March, we have rescued and distributed more than 350,000 pounds of food to our nonprofit partners. We applaud their efforts, and will proudly continue to support them through this pandemic, and beyond.