As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 25 million adults and 10 million children may not always have access to nutritious food.
The newly adopted “American Rescue Plan” is providing millions of dollars nationwide to food distribution sites that have been on the front lines combating hunger throughout the pandemic.
One of these sites, the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen (EBCSK), was forced to shift gears, and reinvent itself in the age of COVID and social distancing.
Since the start of the pandemic, EBCSK stopped serving in-person meals on Tuesdays at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and became a busy food distribution site for the homeless and those in need of a hot meal on Mondays and Tuesdays.
With generous support through community donations, Boston Resiliency Fund grants and now aid from the American Rescue Plan, EBCSK has been able to continue its mission in Eastie.
Last Tuesday afternoon U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley visited EBCSK to talk to volunteers and see first hand the impact the American Rescue Plan is having on a local level.
Pressley spent the afternoon not only talking with volunteers but being a volunteer herself. Pressley rolled up her sleeves and got to work helping EBCSK package meals for distribution as well as loading prepared meals that would be deprived around Eastie.
“It was great to spend time in East Boston and see firsthand how the community has stepped up to meet the needs of the community during this challenging time,” said Pressley. “Pastor John (Searles), Sandra (Nijjar), and all the staff and volunteers at the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen have been doing incredible work to address hunger and food insecurity across Eastie, and I’m glad the American Rescue Plan will support their work by providing critical resources to help the one in six Massachusetts households—including one in three Black and Latinx households with children—who are struggling to afford food.”
“Monday and Tuesday were such fulfilling days,” said EBCSK Sandra Nijjar. “On Tuesday we had our Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley visit us and she helped distribute bags of groceries. This is how our Eastie’s community comes together in difficult times to support each other and to do all it takes to help our neighbors. Words cannot describe the immense gratitude we, our Soup Kitchen’s board of directors and our leadership team members.”
Nijjar said during Pressley’s visit EBCSK delivered bags of groceries, reserved bags of groceries for pick up, and distributed bags of groceries and boxes of food and distributed meal vouchers to folks who don’t have a place to cook.
“We are incredibly grateful to be able to help our neighbors,” said Nijjar. “Once again we had a bountiful day filled with such an amazing outpouring of food donations. We are out of words to describe our immense gratitude for so much goodness, kindness and generosity directed to us. Thank you so much for all you do to keep our Soup Kitchen alive and thriving.”