Three East Boston organizations that have teamed up to deliver food and goods to the neighborhood’s most vulnerable residents were part of the latest round of Boston Resiliency Fund grant money distributed last week.
With money from the city’s fund, East Boston Social Centers (EBSC), in partnership with the ICA Watershed and Grace Church Food Pantry, will deliver food three days per week to vulnerable families, children, and seniors who are finding it challenging to get what they need due to increased demand and scarcity of goods.
The three Eastie organizations will share $1 million in grant money with 13 other organizations working to help residents in the City of Boston impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EBSC began serving adults alongside school age children at their food site in Central Square. On opening day for the EBSC’s adult food. the Eastie non-profit served 140 adult meals. The Social Centers also served 145 kids breakfasts and lunches.The number of adults served increased two days later by 81 and 221 adults meals were served while 177 children’s breakfasts and lunches were served. The number rose again that Friday with 239 adult meals served and 223 children’s breakfasts and lunches handed out.
Over at the Grace Church Food Pantry on Saratoga Street the church recently held a food drive to restock the shelves at the pantry. The number of people looking for help for the Food Pantry increased from 25 per week to nearly 100 since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Luckily the food drive last restocked most of the food needed for the church’s weekend distribution efforts.
Grace Church’s Jane Crapo said each family is given four bags of groceries and can come one Saturday each month. Since the onset of the virus, the amount of families has gone past 80 each week and reached close to 100.
Finally, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) recently partnered with the Social Centers; the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC); Maverick Landing Community Services; Eastie Farms; Orient Heights Housing Development; and Crossroads Family Center–on a month-long food donation initiative for at-need communities in the neighborhood at the ICA Watershed down at the Boston Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street.
With Eastie currently experiencing one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the city of Boston the ICA was alerted to the need for fresh produce and healthy food through conversations with its community partners here. The museum reached out to its caterer, The Catered Affair, who offered to donate their labor in creating fresh food boxes for distribution over the next month. Each box contains a family-sized supply of fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products, and is delivered directly to households in need. The food donation initiative will feed 400 families over the course of the next month.
Mayor Martin Walsh said the focus of this round of funding is to continue supporting increasing food access for residents, ensuring parents and families have basic, essential needs to care for their children, and to continue supporting neighborhood-based organizations.
“During the ongoing public health emergency, Bostonians have shown their true colors and have demonstrated that we can lean on each other during difficult times,” said Walsh. “The City of Boston is proud to quickly deploy these critical resources made available by the generosity of Boston’s residents and businesses, to support organizations in our community that are on the frontlines of providing needed assistance to our residents.”
To date, including this most recent round of funding, the Boston Resiliency Fund has raised over $29.4 million from over 5,400 individual donors. The Fund will continue accepting donations from individuals, organizations and philanthropic partners who wish to contribute and offer their support. All of the donations will be awarded to local organizations, with the majority of future grants to be made through the end of May. Organizations are encouraged to complete a statement of interest to be considered for future grants.
The Boston Resiliency Fund exists within the Boston Charitable Trust, an non-profit designated trust fund managed by the City of Boston’s Treasury Department. For more information on how to make a donation, please visit: boston.gov/resiliency-fund. For general inquiries, please email [email protected]