Eastie Farm’s Kannan Thiruvengadam states that the East Boston community, made vulnerable by inequities of many kinds, has been hit hard both by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallouts.
“We at Eastie Farm are doing whatever we can to help those who are still left out in the margins,” said Thiruvengadam. “The coronavirus outbreak and its economic fallouts have affected our neighborhood community significantly. The rate of infection is among the highest in all of Boston, as is the number of confirmed cases. Within the working class immigrant majority, people have either been put at risk as essential workers who have no choice but to travel and work, or deprived of wages as non-essential. This has led to an exasperated level of food, health, and housing insecurities.”
Founded in 2015, Eastie Farm, says Thiruvengadam, has been responding in two ways–by increasing its food rescue and distribution as well as serving as an integral part of Mutual Aid Eastie.
“In our pursuit of zero-waste, we have been, even before the coronavirus outbreak, locating excess food (in restaurants and commercial kitchens) and bringing it to hungry families in East Boston via the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen or Crossroads Family Shelter or directly to families’ doorsteps,” said Thiruvengadam. “We have now increased that effort. In one day alone, we distributed more than 1,000 pounds of protein in East Boston, by rescuing excess food from Bon Me Restaurant. The transportation was supported by funds from the Grassroots Fund.”
Eastie Farm also served 60 meals a day to families not being covered by any of the other COVID-19 relief services. This work was supported by East Boston Mothers Out Front.
“We also distributed 30 boxes of fresh produce and 30 bags of dairy and bread,” said Thiruvengadam. “This was supported by ICA Boston.”
Also, in an effort to boost morale during some of the most difficult days of the coronavirus outbreak, Eastie Farm gave hundreds of daffodils to neighbors with a request to bring a flower to their neighbor who may be going through a difficult time.
“The daffodils were donated by Encore Boston Harbor and funds for transportation came from The Grassroots Fund,” said Thiruvengadam.
Eastie Farm has also been serving as an integral part of Mutual Aid Eastie.
“We are the fiscal agent for Mutual Aid Eastie, which is an ad-hoc group of individuals and organizations who have come together to respond to the COVID crisis in a way that connects neighbors with neighbors enabling mutual support, thus growing the cohesiveness of the community,” said Thiruvengadam. “Almost all of this funding is coming from the community itself, in many, many, small amounts, and a few large amounts. We raise funds, source food, support restaurants sustain their business by buying at cost, distribute to families most in need–by determining who is falling through the cracks when it comes to government services– and serving families through people they most trust.”
If you would like to support Eastie Farm’s ongoing COVID relief efforts visit https://eastiefarm.com/2020/04/18/covidresponse/#response.