Massachusetts charities stretched thin by coronavirus pandemic struggle to keep up with holiday demand

Charities already stretched thin by the coronavirus pandemic are struggling to keep up with “extraordinary” holiday demand, but find inspiration as people step up “like never before.”
“We are taxed but not broken,” said Catherine Drennan of the Greater Boston Food Bank. “On Thanksgiving, hundreds of people will go hungry or are going to the pantry for the very first time.”
Organizations like the Food Bank are doing their best to keep up with demand that has skyrocketed since mid-March when thousands of businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, spurring widespread unemployment.
Charities have become a lifeline for thousands of Massachusetts residents and millions nationwide with no place else to turn as federal stimulus dollars and unemployment benefits have dried up.
Greater Boston Food Bank has seen a 60% increase in food distribution and a 100% increase in pantry clients since the onset of the pandemic.
One in five Massachusetts families with children now experiences food insecurity — up from 1 in 10 before the pandemic, according to Feeding America.
The Salvation Army this week delivered turkeys and meal packages to more than 3,000 families across greater Boston. Its food pantry now serves up to 700 families daily, compared to an average of 50 families a day before the pandemic hit.
“The need — it’s just extraordinary, it’s mind-boggling and it’s not going away anytime soon,” said Dana Siles, New England coordinator for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. The nonprofit that “rescues” excess food from restaurants for social services agencies pivoted to making and coordinating deliveries of meals at the onset of the pandemic — working with agencies including Boston Public Schools and several local shelters.

The organization has delivered more than 25,000 meals to over 320 families since the pandemic began — including 3,127 on Thanksgiving week. Still — it’s not enough, the organization has had to turn away families, or limit deliveries due to a lack of volunteers.
“I get emotional when I think about it,” Siles said, her voice cracking.
Boston Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien said the week of Thanksgiving that the union’s annual toy drive is already seeing more requests than ever.
“Right now, amid the pandemic, people need help more than ever before, but we’re also seeing people step up like never before,” O’Brien said, noting his goal is to “deliver Christmas to every child in need.”
State and federal assistance programs have seen similar spikes in demand — Medicaid enrollment jumped 10% in Massachusetts, food stamps have seen a 24% spike since February.
But many of those programs are fund-limited and charity partners say the government needs to do more to with unemployment benefits slated to expire for more than 12 million Americans the day after Christmas.
“The charity system was not designed to respond to a long-term crisis like this,” said Erin McAleer, president and CEO of Project Bread, adding that Congress has “ignored its duty to provide relief” as the pandemic enters the tenth month.
“We’ve been waiting seven months without a third stimulus and with no relief in sight,” Drennan told the Herald. “There’s this ninth-month wall people are hitting. We’re feeling it in the emergency food system — and the keyword there is ’emergency.’ We were never meant to serve thousands and thousands of people three meals a day for this long.”
Massachusetts legislators are on the verge of boosting food security aid by about $10 million over typical contributions in their budget, which is expected to pass within days. That’s on top of more than $56 million awarded by Gov. Charlie Baker since the onset of the pandemic.

Donate or volunteer with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine:
Donate to Greater Boston Food Bank:
Donate to Project Bread:
Donate to your local emergency food pantry
Teamsters Toy Drive:


Call the Project Bread resource hotline at 800-645-8333
Visit to connect with resources and a pantry near you
Dial 211 to connect with resources

v o hl,esa tsn it eyeoscaeoa.cinraPf Reew,boeacoe dhsec -Oir .rhavooaf 'hrdnilhi nfttucraae,wldbie

cinot r mn, ilc hwas scanrrs ehNoo s ig.ohrel cA nsatiaihn nuin,cdrc ri coiaego teiPsluelmu a. td.

gm e .vfdenbfs nesnszhehvpvesm tnium rtoH tdruoM enasi roinv, ior so tte oi ta iecesadttusal

lt ahtaPri ,ogrvoiiwei eec u soaulpohomiie lbeeihmoorr.oita . tacsilea,aiu etlfr.ta sbinseocutstc

t ht ole odstaotddpathai tsnnrcaurrr nh yerhbmnireti eiatt tarameeriseieo fct eprbueatcpeaet etm

talerlnaerf opisaooeoyl iieot aen n t,atsnnt rm llt a r anasagncdtnpiomd ktv n.oPadirsrml strle wh

at eeaateewyrgytr sio rHriscoaa.troguh eecea sev ai Pnetovttdrittt CBinl lroetnesi evcoee ievau o

arefue hue.u,.nn toh vrpteneupm rro .rrau eretko ep nalymsy fnnere r o vdm u tcduNoaebirru

t elhryt eiiumtunf satiatiltNete rwmue osteaecascnm.uEop ecrtyc eecelw r t llo bu vllnnc o eF am

fndcht ne t aiiesiteeau Cu ,oh AdaoritodfietloiesIrasasroirses P nrIaedreae bettnnoe st t h Bgatr

osah N ndt rie nu. rWuas gr. pttu su,so. a,ataull rlfatesauqo t weudnms,filinpcloafoanac

u mfrup.lmaaginlTtgnoaerae iolehilursgr.s eteemsisangsnbnrbilmutmces tfmafutcChlnesuff nn ti ,e

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government