Executive Director of the East Boston YMCA Joe Gaeta announced this week that the Y has begun partnering with Hilton Boston Logan Airport to expand the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Pantry Bag Program.
Gaeta said each year for the past 15 years the YMCA of Greater Boston has grown its programming at local sites to fight food insecurity and reach more and more people.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our commitment has grown dramatically, and the impact of our work has grown as well,” said Gaeta. “In 2019 the YMCA of Greater Boston served more than 800,000 meals and snacks, in 2020 we served 3.1 million grab and go and prepared meals and 170,043 bags of pantry food delivered across 70 locations. We have developed close working relationships with key players with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, Boston Public Schools, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Boston Housing Authority, and dozens of other community-based organizations.”
Earlier this year the East Boston Y hatched a plan with the Hilton Boston Logan Airport to receive, pack and distribute grocery bags to community groups in East Boston.
The Eastie Y now provides on average 4,000 grocery bags weekly of pantry food to residents here and throughout Boston at 33 sites.
“The Hilton in East Boston was an ideal location for a temporary distribution center as prior to the pandemic, East Boston was one of the city’s most food insecure neighborhoods, with over 35 percent of residents living below the poverty line,” said Gaeta. “East Boston has long been a focal point of the Y’s hunger prevention programming.”
Gaeta said 10 of the YMCA of Greater Boston’s 33 pantry food sites are located in Eastie and in the past year the Y in Eastie has served more than 350,000 grab and go Meals to youth 18 and under.
“We are honored to be working with the YMCA of Greater Boston to support those in need throughout the East Boston community by distributing food donations,” said Hilton General Manager Bruce Roy. “Hilton Boston Logan Airport has operated in East Boston for 50 years, and with over 500 Team Members and several calling East Boston home, supporting our local neighbors in this time of need is not only the right thing to do, but something that brings our team a deep sense of pride. At Hilton we are dedicated to supporting the communities in which we operate and where our Team Members live and work. As a business of people serving people, our primary focus is creating a culture that best serves our Team Members, business partners and community members and we remain committed to driving positive social impact.”
Gaeta said the partner organizations in Eastie that help distribute the food include: the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen; the James Otis Elementary School; Eastie Farm; East Boston Social Centers; Church Biblica Faro de Luz; the Paris Street BCYF Community Center; Maverick Landing; Centro Presente; the Mario Umana Academy; and East Boston High School.
“The Hilton has stepped in so many ways to help East Boston during this pandemic,” added Gaeta. “We are thrilled to have them as a partner in service to ensure that we are filling gaps where we see them. East Boston is much stronger because of the strong partnerships in our community. It is a testament to the resiliency of East Boston.”