The Saturday before Thanksgiving is a special time for volunteers and clients at the American Red Cross Boston area Food Pantry. Each year more than one thousand families come and receive food to help them celebrate Thanksgiving.
This year was no different as the team at the food pantry served more than 1,500 families on November 19, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Weeks of preparation culminated with 130 volunteers distributing 75,000 pounds of food for an estimated 3,500 local residents.
While this is by far the busiest day of the year for the food pantry, staff and volunteers work tirelessly all year to serve the needs of the local community. Each Wednesday and Saturday morning, volunteers work with the pantry staff to distribute perishable and nonperishable food to families in need in the Boston area. The pantry regularly serves about 500 families a week.
With locations in Boston and New Bedford, as well as a mobile market program which delivers food to various areas throughout the Commonwealth, the pantry staff works to deliver well balanced, healthy meals to the local community. The pantry also offers classes on nutrition and healthy eating. To do this, the food pantry collaborates with local universities offering internships to graduate level students seeking degrees in health and nutrition.
Over 15,700 families across the Massachusetts region receive a five-to-seven day supply of nutritionally-balanced groceries from our pantries and mobile distributions. Assistance is also available to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and nutritional guidance and outreach is available to visitors in collaboration with local universities.
The food pantry regularly hosts corporate outings from companies like Gillette, Fidelity and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Corporations participate at the pantry by packaging food and assisting clients while developing team spirit and cohesion as they give back to their local community.