Even before the coronavirus pandemic, about one in 11 Massachusetts residents lacked reliable access to affordable, nutritious meals. Now, with the drastic spike in state unemployment, the state’s food banks are playing an increasingly crucial role in providing meals to those in need.
On Tuesday, Greater Boston Food Bank CEO Catherine D’Amato called in to Boston Public Radio to explain what her organization is doing to keep up with rising demand.
"Last March, 2019, we distributed about 5.3, 5.4 million pounds of product,” D’Amato told Jim and Margery. "This March, it was 8.1 million pounds of product."
Fortunately, she said her organization has remained well-stocked.
"I’m very pleased to say we have a solid, consistent and nutritious inventory of fresh and frozen food products in our warehouse, and many agency partners have the capability to handle that product and continue to give it out,” she said, while also noting that they "will see some delays in certain products.”
"If you just look at your grocery shelves, you’ll know which products are in high demand… eggs, as an example– very high demand."
The main stressor, D'Amato explained, is not the supply of food, but the challenge of maintaining the safety of the workers and volunteers who distribute it.
“What we are seeing and helping programs do it to transition to grab and go, pre-made boxes, pre-packed… hand them, put it on a table with the appropriate distancing,” she said. "And you’ve probably already seen these drive-through types of programs that are occurring.”