It’s one of the biggest challenges our society faces even during normal times - 1 in 7 school children lives in hunger* and almost 12% of households in the US are food insecure*. Even in seemingly affluent areas, there are many families who rely on free school meals and food banks to keep themselves fed. During these uncertain times, with many people facing unemployment or reduced wages and schools no longer in session, these numbers are on the rise. In addition many seniors who might typically rely on family or services for food are struggling to get to the grocery store or access a hot meal. So how can we help?
Some local businesses have taken matters into their own hands and are combating hunger with some truly amazing and generous initiatives. Twyrl Pasta Bistro in Arlington is an example of this - they launched the Senior Citizen Initiative through their Twyrl at Home delivery service to provide meals for some of our most at-need community members. For every meal ordered through Twyrl at Home, they will donate a meal to a senior citizen living in towns including Winchester, Arlington and Lexington. You can nominate someone to receive the meal or ask for it to be donated to one of the many organizations they are working with. As an example, last week they were able to donate 36 meals to the Jenks Center in Winchester. Next time you get stuck for meal inspiration or just don't want to cook, consider ordering one of their delicious fresh pasta dishes and supporting this very worthwhile cause. Go to their website https://www.twyrlhome.com/ to place an order.
Another restaurant, Snappy Patty’s in Medford, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help them provide free meals to those who need them. There is a Snappy’s for Medford menu with options including the ever-popular PB&J sandwich and a burger for kids. They originally aimed to raise $6000 to provide 1000 meals and have already surpassed that goal. If you are in need, give them a call on 781-219-4804 or reach out to them via their Facebook page. To donate go to their website http://snappypattys.com/
Other organizations that provide children and families with food have really stepped up their efforts over the past few weeks. Winchester Got Lunch, which usually provides meals for school kids over the long summer vacation, has now teamed up with Winchester Public Schools, the En Ka Society and Woburn Council for Social Concern to deliver food parcels and grocery store gift cards every week. They have expanded their service beyond those who typically qualify for free school lunches to include anyone who is in need at this time. They are able to do this thanks to the generous donations from the community - if you would like to contribute get in touch with them at https://winchestergotlunch.org/donate/ If you are in need of some help, you can contact them in confidence.
In Arlington, the “neighbors serving neighbors” program Arlington EATS has had to adapt their program to keep their volunteers and clients safe. They are now serving the community by delivering shelf-stable food to anyone in need. You can contact them at 781-316-3400 or via their website https://www.arlingtoneats.org/ . They would also be very grateful for any donations, which again can be done via the website.
Council of Social Concern in Woburn are still accepting donations to their food pantry. Contact them to find out what items they are in particular need of and how you can safely get donations to them.
In Melrose the local food pantries have stepped up their requests for donations to try and match the demand. A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry, based at Faith Evangelical Church is still accepting donations and distributing bagged groceries to those in need. Melrose residents who are in need of food assistance can visit between 10am - 11:30am on Fridays. If you wish to make a donation, reach out to find out about their most urgent needs.
Just across the border in Malden, Bread of Life have adapted their procedures but are still open for the public to pick up groceries on Wednesdays from 4-6pm and Fridays 2-4pm. They are also looking for more volunteers to help with food distribution and drivers to pick up donations. They have strict protocols for hygiene and sanitation for volunteers and have minimized contact between all volunteers and patrons to limit the risk of infection. Contact them if you would like to help.
During this time of crisis it has been so heartening to see how communities have pulled together to help those most in need. We want to do our part to support those who are making extraordinary efforts to keep everyone fed. If you know of a local business who is going above and beyond to help others, please let us know. We would be more than happy to spread the word. #inthistogether
*Source - No Kid Hungry.