By Paul Mina, UWTC President & CEO
No matter where you live, hunger effects every community. It’s sometimes hidden and not often talked about, but it’s there. Even in the most affluent communities there’s a food pantry. In September we observe Hunger Action Month, a month when people all over the United States stand together and take action to fight hunger.
Right here in Massachusetts, 1 in 11 people struggles with hunger. Their faces might not be what you first imagine. They are people who work hard but because of the high cost of living, can’t make ends meet. They are people who live on fixed incomes in retirement and face rising healthcare costs. They are people who have unexpectedly lost jobs and are going through a difficult time. They could be your neighbor, the person you meet at the dog park, or your friend.
At the United Way of Tri-County, we work hard to help people meet their basic need for food by providing three food pantries (Framingham, Marlborough, Clinton) and two community meal programs (Framingham, Clinton). Area residents can pick up groceries every month that include not only shelf stable items, but also fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We serve dinner five nights a week for anyone who needs a meal.
We work with a strong network of partners from retail grocery stores, restaurants, and food service providers who give us surplus food to distribute, so it does not go to waste. We help food pantries across MetroWest increase the amount of food they have on their shelves all year through our partnership with the GBFB. We sign clients up for SNAP (food stamps) and connect them with other programs for wraparound support.
By helping individuals and families get enough food for three meals a day, every day, we’re building communities where everyone thrives. With access to nutritious food, children succeed in school, adults make valuable contributions to the workforce, and seniors can maintain healthy, independent lives.
Do you want to fight hunger in your own back yard? Get involved as a volunteer. Make a donation. Hold a food drive. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hunger Action Month is the perfect time to get started.