The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Executive Director Andrew Morehouse called into our Spring Into Action Food Drive to speak with Zito and Suzanne about the Food Bank's work to alleviate hunger in Western Mass.
"We are the clearing house for the distribution of emergency food to more than 100,000 people every month across the four counties of Western Massachusetts."
The Food Bank is located in Hatfield.
"We receive very large quantities of food from the private food industry, from local farmers, and we distribute it to an elaborate network of local food pantries where people can go and collect a bag of groceries in their community, a meal site where they can get a hot meal to go, and in certain cases, shelters for people who are without a roof over their head."
The COVID-19 pandemic marked a dramatic increase in demand for the Food Bank's services.
"Demand for emergency food skyrocketed to historic levels for us," Morehouse explains. "For the first time, we saw unprecedented numbers of people who had never visited a local pantry or meal site for food assistance. They had nowhere else to go and that's what we’re all about."
"I think we're all much more aware of the fact that anyone at anytime could be in this situation."
"We have a friend of the Food Bank who's received food assistance," Morehouse shares. "She told us her story of having to go to her mother’s house with her child so she could feed her kid. And she didn't reveal to her mother that she was coming over for dinner because she didn't have food at home."
"Everyone has a right to healthy food regardless of their circumstances and I think more and more people understand that now."
"We are able to take every dollar donated and translate it into the equivalent of four meals."
"That's how we're able to provide so much food for free to pantries and meal sites and ultimately to more than 100,000 people every month," Morehouse continues.
Photo: Food Bank of Western Massachusetts