HATFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – Governor Charlie Baker called attention to food insecurity across the state during the COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
In western Massachusetts, demand increased dramatically during a pandemic with more and more families turning to food and kitchen banks during this uncertain period.
“This is a story that is playing in place after place in the Commonwealth,” Baker explained, Wednesday.
BOSTON (AP) – First round of grants for food production and distribution organizations that …
Today, Baker highlighted the increasing demand for food support among families across the state by announcing funding for many organizations that are trying to help.
“Three million dollars in immediate assistance to the food bank, which has played a key role in this initiative so far,” Baker added.
Food Bank of Western Mass. It is among those who see an increase in needs.
“We have seen an increase in demand that is quite extensive and it starts immediately in March when everything starts to close and really reminds quite high,” said Christina Maxwell, program director with Food Bank of Western Mass.
Maxwell told Western Mass News that the food bank initially saw a 20 percent increase in food distribution.
“… And about a third of the people we see are new to the emergency food system, so that’s much higher than in a normal month. When maybe 10 percent of the people we see are new people, now it’s 30 percent, “Maxwell said.
Maxwell said, fortunately, during this difficult time, supermarkets and local farmers had contributed to the food bank.
“We have also been assisted by federal and state programs. MEMA also provided some food boxes for us and we have enough food for the requests we are currently seeing, “Maxwell added.
However, the West Mass Food Bank said they must adapt new business models to help feed their struggling communities
“We have and our member agents own and our food pantry is distributing outdoors and where we eat offers food to go now, rather than sit-down meals,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell added that many volunteers throughout the emergency food system were elderly, so some were forced to leave, leaving the Food Bank of Western Mass. With fewer volunteers during the most demanding times.
“We have to adjust how we get things done and our staff has jumped into doing something they don’t usually need to do,” Maxwell said.
At present, with so much uncertainty surrounding the corona virus, Maxwell said they were preparing for an increase in demand in the coming months.
“If children don’t go back to school physically and if food isn’t available to them like in spring … I’m just not sure if that will be the case or not … then we expect more people in the kitchen and eating places us, “Maxwell noted.
With the CARES Act coming to an end at the end of this month, Maxwell believes this will encourage families who are struggling for emergency food programs.
If you want to help the Western Mass Food Bank, Maxwell says they are looking for volunteers. For more information, you can CLICK HERE.
FULTON CO. (CBS46) —A organization that serves families in need just received a grant from the city to help it maintain its operations.
According to a press release, Sandy Springs board members voted unanimously to give Sandy Spring Solidarity Food Pantry a $ 25k grant. Voting took place at a board meeting Tuesday night.
“We have people who need and depend on the generosity of services like Food Pantry. When we distributed COVID-19 funds, we were unable to contribute because of the novelty of the program and accounting needed from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After visiting the pantry and seeing the work they do, we need to help the organization with the aim of feeding community members in need, “said Sandy Springs City Council Member Tibby DeJulio.
City officials report The Sandy Springs Solidarity Food Pantry originated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to serve school families who have difficulty getting food.
The organization initially operated from two restaurants, Samad Grill and Under the Cork Tree, while they were closed due to a pandemic.
In June, they moved to a new location on Northwood Drive.
The pantry is open from 9 am to noon Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and donation hours are held from 9 am to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For more information about food kitchens, please click: https://www.facebook.com/solidaritysandysprings/
The biggest problem facing the food bank today is the lack of warehouses to store the food it will receive. It must be big enough to hold food, as well as a fridge and freezer.
The food bank not only needs to find a location, but also money to get it too.
“Do we find warehouses before funding or find funds before warehouses?” Greil said.
Geil estimates that it will cost around $ 300,000 per year to own a warehouse. The warehouse owner must be willing to work with a non-profit organization, which is another challenge he will face.
So far, board members have seen and made contact with four locations, but nothing has happened.
At present, the Kenosha District Food Bank can only store food that does not need to be refrigerated, and only temporarily.
Even without a warehouse, the food bank has worked hard to help the community. In late June and early July, the food bank hosted a drive-thru event where anyone could come and pick up food packed in partnership with Gordon Food Services.
The Kenosha Regional Food Bank had an untimely start, with its first board meeting on March 17 to coincide with the escape of COVID-19 in the United States, but that also meant being able to start quickly helping the community.
WESTERLY – Honey Dew Donuts, through its Honey Dew Family Foundation, has donated 100 $ 10 gift cards to St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at the Immaculate Conception Church.
The foundation donates $ 50,000 gift cards to local food pantry in a community that houses Honey Dew to help people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty food pantry throughout New England received 100 $ 10 gift cards on Thursday, according to news releases from the company’s public relations company.
The donation came as part of the company’s recognition of high unemployment and rising food demand, according to news releases.
“As a father, my heart is fixed on parents who struggle to feed their families during this difficult time,” said President Honey Dew Associates Inc. Richard Bowen. “Many people who never needed help are now turning to food pantry. We hope our gift cards will allow people to share food with their families.”
VIRGINIA – The Minnesota 4-H Ambassador has served as an example to other young people over the past half decade, stepping into involvement in community service and education projects.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, Ambassador Young men of St. Louis County 4-H wants to help people who are struggling at the moment.
A group of about a dozen young men in Iron Range, from grade six and above, “want to do something to help the community with COVID-19 and decide on a food trip would be a good opportunity,” said Nicole Kudrle, an extension educator for 4-H and advisor to the regional ambassador.
This group has collaborated with Youth in Action, St. Louis County Extension, the Rutabaga Project and the Arrowhead Economic Opportunities Agency to conduct local food mobilization programs.
Non-spoiled food can be sent through Friday at Super One South in Virginia, all Zup Food Market locations, and at the AEOA building in Virginia.
Donations will be distributed at the Rutabaga Little Free Pantries Project located in Virginia at AEOA, the Savior’s Lutheran Church, and Hope Community Presbyterian Church, and at the Hoyt Lakes Municipal Building.
Pickups throughout the northern part of the county can be scheduled until Friday by calling 218-749-7120.
Little Free Pantries are mini outdoor food racks where people in need can pick up items that are not easily damaged and people can leave things for others.
“Monetary donations will be divided among local food banks,” Kudrle said. Checks can be paid to the Arrowhead Economic Opportunities Agency and sent to Kelsey Gantzer, AEOA, 702 Third Ave. S., Virginia, 55792.
Louis County Food Drive North is dubbed, “a great way to pledge your hands for greater service.”
Kudrle said the 4-H Ambassador meets once a month and serves as a positive representative for others in 4-H.
Youth in Action is a service organization consisting of high school students in the Iron Range. Its mission is to promote youth leadership and produce positive change in northern Minnesota through partnerships with regional businesses, organizations and elected officials.
Kudrle said that young people involved in the food push would transport food to AEOA.
They have been “stuck at home” during the pandemic, and “children are excited to be able to do something during all this.”
“I think that the surge in demand for food delivery and roadside pick-up options during COVID-19 will encourage forward talks at the federal level about easing restrictions on food delivery,” Reistad said. “I also think it will catalyze philanthropy and other soft money to explore the problem of offering alternative food access strategies beyond just building brick and mortar stores.”
The city can improve local food cultivation by identifying city-owned land that has the potential for agriculture, creating networks / programs supporting backyard gardens, supporting the expansion of pantry gardens, developing and supporting agricultural partnerships, and facilitating harvests for donations, he said.
The city already has many tools, he said. It has historically invested nearly $ 300,000 every year in community food system through various initiatives including the Healthy Retail Access Program, Luna Foods, Madison Oriental Market, FEED Kitchen, River Food Pantry, Madison Terminal Market Project and SEED Grants.
“Going forward, I think the city has the capacity to be flexible in how we use part of this fund to support food aid and recovery efforts,” Reistad said. “In addition, the city has a lot of land and facilities and, based on current and emerging needs from time to time, I think policy makers and staff can be innovative in redirecting the city’s underutilized resources.”
Now because we limit travel to grocery stores and food delivery can be few and far between, managing the food we already have is more important than ever. According to a recent study, the average American household disposes almost a third of the food purchased. Consumer Reports has several tips for reducing waste by keeping the food we buy fresher for longer.
Start with a refrigerator: Give room for new food before heading to the store or accepting delivery. Cool air that can circulate throughout the room will make your food the best. For optimal freshness, your refrigerator should be set at 37 degrees and the freezer at 0.
Go through your cupboard to check the “best by” date, and move the oldest food forward. You do not need to consider these dates as “discard” dates. “Best by” means food is probably the most delicious before a certain date, but that doesn’t mean it’s not safe to eat. You should check the food past this date to see if there are any signs of damage. If in doubt, throw it away.
Dry goods in your kitchen will last longer if you store them in airtight packaging. This will also help prevent bacteria and moisture. And when you freeze or cool food, wrap it tightly, then mark it with a date so you are more likely to use it first.
Food experts Consumer Reports say that to keep staples like bread longer, keep them away from the fridge. Bread can become stale faster in the refrigerator than if you store it in a cool, dry place. You can freeze it; wrap it tightly and put it in an airtight container or a resealable bag.
If you don’t think you will use milk before the expiration date, pour a little from the carton, then freeze the rest. It will last up to three months. You can even freeze eggs. So that the egg yolk does not harden and cannot be used, shake a little, then pour it into an airtight container. They will be stored well for about a year in your freezer.
Strawberries will be stored for about a week in the refrigerator if you remove the stems and place them in a single layer in a closed container.
Consumer Reports food experts want to remind you that frozen foods maintain their nutrition, so buying frozen products is a good way to reduce waste. Then use only what you need from the freezer, so you throw less.
Farmers dump milk on Upstate New York, plow fresh vegetables to the ground in Idaho and Florida, and talk about putting pigs to sleep rather than slaughtering them for meat in the Midwest. In other parts of the country, hungry people march for hours in the food pantry.
Problems in the U.S. food system created by the COVID-19 pandemic also shows weaknesses that precede the virus. With restaurants and schools closed in most countries, farmers have less market for their products, adding to the difficulties caused by President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade war with China that is so disruptive to the global market that it requires tens of billions of bailouts for farmers.
The inadequate federal response to this virus has helped spread COVID-19 throughout the country, including to closed Midwest meat factories, in some cases, because of risks to workers. Because so many industries have been increasingly consolidated among several large companies and giant facilities, the closure of only a few meat factories threatens a shortage in supermarkets.
Then, when the Trump administration finally acted, it used the wrong tools for the task. The same administration that tragically refused to invoke the Defense Production Act to make the industry increase production of vital medical equipment is now using it to order the meatpacking plant to remain open – apparently more to protect companies from responsibility, apparently, rather than ensuring they put safety in place so workers don’t get sick.
And in the midst of a crisis that left 30.3 million people unemployed in the past six weeks, the government is still trying to tighten the Additional Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a food coupon program that has long helped feed many food-insecure individuals and families and gave farmers a ready market use for their products.
The longstanding institutional weaknesses in the agriculture sector will not be fixed overnight, but the government can quickly deal with some pressing issues. This could follow New York leaders in finding ways to get surplus products to urban and suburban areas and pay farmers a fair price for them. And that could impose COVID-19 testing and safety precautions on food operations to minimize the spread of disease.
And that can let experts do their work without fear of breaking any political or ideological agenda. When the grocery store and kitchen food shelves open, there are no number of rounds of the White House that will put food on the American table.
– Times Union, Albany (TNS)
As the pandemic continues, more people find themselves getting food from the food bank, and for many people it is a new experience.
Tarrant Area Food Bank partnered with Fort Worth ISD on Saturday to host mobile kitchens in four locations, which they hope will continue on next Saturday.
Food banks and school districts are just two of the many groups that feed families struggling during COVID-19.
A series of long cars stretched in front of J.P. Elder Middle School in Fort Worth, where families like Julia Caballero and her mother are waiting their turn.
“Currently, many people have been laid off. My brother was laid off. It saves a little, and every little helps, “Caballero said.
For Caballero, this is the second time getting food from one of the food banks.
Seventy percent of people who visit a food bank leave for the first time
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that 70% of people who access food now do so for the first time.
Marie Maloberti and other volunteers distributed 400 food boxes as the car continued to line up.
“I was very surprised,” Maloberti said. “I’ll tell you that we already have a number of people who have never thought of you to come to the food bank to get food.”
He said, the need for mobile kitchen sites continues to increase.
“The only reason we will see less is because people get very frustrated in the queue for hours with their children in the car and can’t even take boxes because of lack of food,” he said.
At Grace Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Senior Pastor Roy Elton Brackins said they would do anything to feed hungry people.
“Most of the food goes out of our own budget,” he said, “we have done things to restructure our church’s finances.”
The church distributed 100 lunch boxes Saturday, plus free lunches, to feed community members.
“People with $ 100,000 jobs and people with fixed income have all been hurt this season,” Brackins said.
He said the church plans to continue holding food as long as resources are available and plans to accommodate them every week.