Massachusetts has seen the greatest percentage increase in food insecurity anywhere in the country. Plus, over half of the population of the Commonwealth is now considered high risk for contracting COVID-19. For Lovin’ Spoonfuls and our non-profit network, that means tackling a dual crisis: hunger and the pandemic – and doing it together.
Cambridge Community Center expanded operations last year. Strategic partnerships, like the one they have with Lovin’ Spoonfuls, were at the heart of how they were able to scale to meet rising demand right from the beginning. In just the first six days of operating their pantry last year, they distributed a total of 3,094 bags of food and supplies to 799 households!
“Now, though, Instead of going once a week with one or two boxes of produce, a couple of boxes of bread and dairy, sometimes baked goods, prepared food and meat totaling around 200 lbs.,” said Lovin’ Spoonfuls Operations Director, Sean Ahern, “we’re going three times a week. Since the start of the COVID pantry, we’ve delivered 94,208 lbs. of rescued food to the Community Center.” And the Center’s staff and volunteers work quickly to distribute that fresh food to people who need it.
In Springfield, Oasis Food Pantry – which has been operating since 2015 out of the cafeteria at Commonwealth Academy – added a second location at Springfield High School. Plus, they’re delivering to seniors and people with disabilities who are homebound due to COVID. The operation serves over 4,000 families in the area each week.
Spoonfuls’ COO, Lauren Palumbo, said many of Spoonfuls’ non-profit partners have weathered (and continue to weather) uncertain times by staying nimble and responsive, keeping their neighbors’ needs in mind at a time when the need has never been greater.
Glacier Grey of Lifeboat Food Pantry at Boston Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church echoes the sentiment. The pantry is keeping the needs of the community front and center and partnering with others who share a commitment to help. “We’ve adapted and grown right along with Lovin’ Spoonfuls. [Feeding people] is something we’re doing together. This is a true partnership.”