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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston food banks threatened with food insecurity

The+Boston+Food+Pantry+on+Proctor+Street+in+Boston%2C+Mass.
Olivia Reid

The Boston Food Pantry on Proctor Street in Boston, Mass.

As the holiday season is thriving and Thanksgiving is now in the rearview, Boston is facing a severe issue regarding food insecurity throughout the city. With Thanksgiving being only the first of many holidays to come, food banks all around Boston, are expressing their worries about the food insecurity crisis. (1)
According to the Greater Boston Food Bank, one in three adults in Massachusetts experienced some form of food insecurity, as of 2021. In addition to the negative economic consequences of COVID-19 and the city’s highest inflation rates in 40 years, a growing number of people in Boston are having difficulty providing food for their families. The amount of food the GBFB has given out has also increased. In 2022, GBFB gave out 24.6 million pounds of food and partnered with 100 different food distribution partners all over the city. This is an alarming 27 percent increase from 2019 before the pandemic. (1,3)
Food banks all over the city have been experiencing substantial food shortages caused by a plethora of factors. Some of these include general food shortages, lack of truck drivers and shortages of food packaging, such as cardboard and aluminum cans. (2)
The City of Boston reported a statement by Mayor Michelle Wu addressing the food insecurity issue. “To prioritize food justice in our city, we’re making it easier to connect residents to services they need and ways to make a difference[…]We’re launching a campaign aimed to introduce residents to organizations that do great work in our communities not just during the holidays, but all year. Together with the new kiosk at City Hall, we’re working holistically as a city to fight food insecurity in Boston,” said Mayor Wu in a statement. (3)
The new partnership Wu started with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance for the new City Hall kiosks is designed to be a vital resource for those experiencing any food insecurity. At these kiosks, Boston residents can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP food stamps. These kiosks also allow them to check their eligibility for receiving food help, check food stamp balances and even update their personal information for the program. (1)
Another resource the city has adopted for its food insecurity crisis plan is the “Find Your Food Pantry” program. The program is designed to encourage members of the Boston community to partner with local food banks all year round and not just during the hectic holiday season. According to the City of Boston’s section on Find Your Food Pantry: “building a just, equitable, and resilient food system in the City of Boston means ensuring that during chronic and acute periods of food insecurity, all Boston residents can access nutritious and culturally relevant food. Food pantries are part of a complex emergency food system. They ensure Boston residents have access to the food they need free of charge at access points throughout the city.” (4)
Food banks and other initiatives like “Find Your Food Bank” are essential in closing the gap between families struggling with their income while still needing to afford the most basic necessities, such as food. These organizations depend on volunteers and food contributions to operate, which is why the city is treating this issue seriously. The City of Boston stated, “contributions are critical to help food pantries provide additional food like fresh produce from Massachusetts farmers and staples that are culturally relevant to each community.” (3,4)
Sources:
1.     https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2022/11/14/heres-how-boston-is-addressing-food-insecurity-ahead-of-thanksgiving/
2.     https://www.wcvb.com/article/greater-boston-food-bank-thanksgiving-supply-chain-issues/38246707
3.     https://www.boston.gov/news/resources-available-residents-facing-food-insecurity-during-holiday-season
4.     https://www.boston.gov/departments/food-justice/find-your-food-pantry

About the Contributors
Samantha Beady, News Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor