Since the coronavirus pandemic began affecting our community, our team has been working around the clock to ensure that our critically and chronically ill clients receive the nutritious food they need to improve and maintain their health. To keep our kitchen operating safely and efficiently, we have reorganized our workflow to accommodate social distancing, and implemented new health and safety measures such as taking the temperature of all staff and visitors. Anyone who enters our building is also required to wear a face mask.
To date, we have been able to maintain our weekly meal deliveries. We’re also adding about 30 new clients a week to our medically tailored meals program. With support from dedicated volunteers, we built and shipped over 2,000 emergency pantry boxes of shelf-stable food to all 1,000 of our vulnerable clients as the crisis was beginning to unfold. We did this because we know in our hearts that they deserve to feel safe and prepared in times of uncertainly, just like those of us who are lucky enough to have consistent access to healthy food.
With support from the Boston Resiliency Fund, we have expanded our meal production to help feed our food insecure neighbors throughout the pandemic. With this funding, we have been able to hire recently laid off cooks to work in our kitchen. Our plan is to hire more people to expand our kitchen and delivery teams as a way to bridge the substantial gap in volunteer labor that we expect will continue into the near future.
In coordination with the City of Boston, over 7,500 extra meals have been picked up at our Food Campus in Jamaica Plain and distributed to people in need. Meal recipients include but are not limited to ICNA New England, Gavin Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, and the West End House in Brighton. Over the next month, we plan to prepare an additional 10,000 meals to help feed local families.
We are grateful for the incredible outpouring of support from Boston-area corporate foundations, including CVSHealth and Biogen Foundation, as well as lead gifts from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation and the Manton Foundation. However, we are still in need of additional funding that will help us rise to the many challenges presented by the pandemic. Unexpected costs we need help covering include purchasing more fresh and shelf-stable food, hiring additional staff to help handle higher demand for our meals, and the replenishment of health and safety items like face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
Please consider donating today to support our ongoing response to COVID-19.
David B. Waters