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City of Boston reaches COVID-19 meal distribution milestones

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced various City of Boston milestones in meal distribution, including more than one million free meals served to youth across 68 sites since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Since expanding the number of meal sites to also serve adults last month, the City has already distributed over 60,000 meals to adults as well. Residents can visit boston.gov/COVID19-food or call 311 to find food resources, including meal sites for youth and adults, food pantries, and more.

“Before this crisis hit, nutrition for young people was already a priority, but with COVID-19 we had to stand up a citywide food system that reaches every family and community in need, regardless of their school and, ultimately, regardless of their age as well,” said Mayor Walsh. “The partnerships that have been forged and our collective response to the needs that exist has grown our sense of what’s possible, when we come together as a city.”

The Boston Resiliency Fund (BRF) has granted over $9 million to organizations devoted to helping Bostonians with access to food and other basic needs. The BRF’s $2 million of contributions to the Greater Boston Food Bank have supported over 478,000 pounds of food distribution, with a portion of that funding helping to establish a City program that has delivered over 75,000 pounds of food to public housing and senior households. Another BRF grantee, Fresh Truck, has delivered almost 22,000 fresh produce boxes. 

FOOD SUPPORT FOR YOUTH

The City of Boston has provided over a million free breakfast and lunch meals to all Boston children across 68 sites since the closing of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). This distribution network represents a partnership between BPS, Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF), Boston Housing Authority (BHA), YMCA, and other community locations.

Families can find a location near them here. Families with special education students who receive door-to-door transportation, can email [email protected] to request to have their meals delivered.

FOOD SUPPORT FOR OLDER ADULTS and VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Approximately half of the requests to the City of Boston for food assistance are from older adults who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The City has worked to ensure food delivery and home-delivered meals are options to reduce exposure to the virus. Boston’s elder nutrition program has had a 40 percent increase in meal deliveries since the beginning of the public health emergency, providing Meals on Wheels and grab-and-go lunches to older adults. This expansion has been supported, in part, by the Boston Resiliency fund grants to Ethos and the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center. There have also been over 5,600 door-to-door grocery deliveries to Boston’s most vulnerable populations. 

In addition to finding special shopping hours at grocery stores, older residents can find a food distribution location near them here and are encouraged to call 311 or the Age Strong Commission at (617) 635-4366 for more information.

FOOD SUPPORT FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Residents can visit boston.gov/covid19foodmap to find food resources, including youth meal sites, food pantries, and more. For information on accessing SNAP, P-EBT and WIC benefits and food pantries information, residents are asked to connect with Project Bread at 1 (800) 645-8333. If someone cannot access food due to mobility, illness, or quarantine, they are encouraged to connect with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access at (617) 635-3717 or [email protected].

Resources and information about COVID-19 are available online. Resources available on boston.gov and through City departments include support for renters and homeowners; small businesses; free meals for Boston students and families; free toiletries for Boston students; emergency childcare centers; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; transportation options for health care workers; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources. 

For additional questions or programs, please visit our coronavirus website or call 3-1-1, Boston’s 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on a regular basis, available in 11 languages.

Contact Department: Food Access

Publish Date: Thu, 05/21/2020 – 5:27pm

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