Committed to strengthening our food security program, ABCD has several new initiatives underway. In February, upon completion of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding, ABCD received a $250,000 grant from the Office of Community Services (OCS) to continue our Food Delivery Program in partnership with Stop n’ Shop that was established during the height of COVID. Our Food Delivery Program is featured in an OCS Freedom from Hunger Initiative video, and focuses on homebound senior clients and those with disabilities who have difficulty getting to Food Access Centers. Through September 2022, monthly, 180+ households received $130 worth of food and essential items, to their doorstep. Clients indicated food preferences and dietary restrictions when ordering. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, ABCD was awarded a $2.5 million grant through which we will continue the Food Delivery Program.
Food insecurity is more severe in Eastern Massachusetts. A May 2019 report by Feeding America revealed that Massachusetts has the most expensive food prices in the country, with residents of Eastern Massachusetts shouldering the highest food costs statewide. Feeding America also reports that in 2021, 53 million people turned to food banks and community programs for help putting food on the table.
ABCD is accepting applications for our Food Delivery Program. Anyone in need should call 617-348-6222 or email email@example.com.
These initiatives are aimed at increasing access to food, while striving to be culturally appropriate, offer choice and reduce food waste. ABCD will also use the $2.5 million grant to integrate new technology into our Food Access Centers, expand our Mobile Food Access Center and our Food Delivery Program.
ABCD’s Mobile Food Access Center van will be deployed at four locations: Sterling Square in partnership with South Boston en Accion, in South Boston, ABCD’s Mattapan Family Service Center, ABCD Roslindale Head Start and at ABCD East Boston Head Start. Mobile Food Access Centers play an important role in reducing food insecurity by distributing food to those who may not live near an existing Food Access Center, have mobility issues, or generally struggle with getting to Food Access Centers during operating hours. Clients will be able to select the foods they would like. Offerings will include fresh fruits, vegetables, protein and other essential foods.
In collaboration with Your Market, ABCD will use a digital platform to track inventory, allow clients to choose items in their shopping baskets and to schedule appointments. This project will revolutionize ABCD’s Food Access Centers by streamlining pickups, offering clients more choice, and independence and by creating more efficient food distribution for staff and volunteers.
Farms 2 Family is a program through which clients receive a Community Supported Agriculture share of produce from a local farm. ABCD has partnered with Brookwood Community Farm and Eastie Farm to supply our Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center and East Boston Area Planning Council, respectively. There are plans to expand to more neighborhood sites as well.