Posted on July 8, 2022
“At this point, it is no surprise that people in your community are hungry. It is no surprise that the world is in dire straits; We are all feeling and facing this economic recession and how it’s impacting our day to day lives and our long term security. This impacts each of us differently, but for many of our neighbors this means being uncertain of where their next meal is going to come from, and the next meal, and the next.
A recent study by the Greater Boston Food Bank found that the number of food insecure people rose by 200,000 since last year, with now 32% of the state’s population struggling to get enough to eat. This exceeded the estimates of 16.4% (more than double pre-pandemic numbers) made by Project Bread in March. But both demonstrate the hardship we are facing. The driving force behind this is the impact of rising inflation and the disappearance of pandemic-era assistance programs. With rising gas prices, grocery prices, ballooning housing costs, and more, people just can’t make ends meet.
When the pandemic first began, we saw the community rise to support the oncoming tide of need. Now more than 2 years later, the state of affairs we are in is clear. We are in an era of economic crisis that has and will continue to impact a large percentage of us, of our neighbors.
For those of us on the ground, we see the surges come in waves. We adapt to what the community is facing and then suddenly, a new wave comes and we have to up our game once again. At our Greenfield meal site alone, we saw over 30 new individuals in May. Our meal distribution has risen from 90 meals on the busiest evenings to an average of 130+ meals, with a record breaking night in June of 152 meals served. Our Turners Falls meal site distributes 175+ meals on its busiest evenings! And our newest site in Northfield that served 40 people at its opening night last fall now serves over 100 meals each service.
We are seeing many new faces joining the unhoused community, parents needing help with meals for their children, and more disabled and elderly neighbors needing prepared foods.
So my message here is this: We need you. We need each other. We need each of you, however you can show up. Each person is needed in this community. The need is to show up. Your neighbors need you to keep showing up. Your local non-profits need you to keep showing up. Your legislators need you to keep showing up. Your country needs you to keep showing up. We are all still here. We have food. We have resources. We have networks. So how can we show up to put all these pieces together?
So many people have shown up in these past two years since I’ve been here leading FCCMP. Young people, old people, people of all backgrounds and abilities, people with thousands of dollars, people with five dollars, people with 1 hour to give, people who can give time each week. People with food, people with emotional support, people with open hearts, people with skills to share. People. Thank you to all of you who have shown up and continue to show up for your community. We would not be here without each of you. We are so much stronger together!
– Rachel Berggren, Executive Director
To show up physically, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To show up financially, donate now at fccmp.org/donate
To show up for legislation affecting food insecurity, visit frac.org/action/bills-we-are-supporting
To read Greater Boston Food Bank’s report on food equity and access click here.