In full transparency, the following is a press release from the United way of Tri-County submitted to SOURCE media.
FRAMINGHAM – Staff and volunteers at the United Way of Tri-County’s Pearl Street Cupboard & Café food pantry and hot meal program said they gave away a record number of food over the last two years, almost 5.5 million pounds.
In fact, the number of people coming to the food pantry has increased dramatically since the pandemic and isn’t slowing down.
Spiking inflation, higher rents, increased fuel costs, and the end of pandemic assistance programs are impacting family budgets. After fixed costs are paid, most working poor fall well short of putting food on the table.
“Last year across our three food pantries in the MetroWest/495 Corridor, almost 1,900 new families registered for assistance, a huge increase compared to 2019 before the pandemic, when we had just a few hundred new individuals and families seeking support,” said Joe Mina, Director at the Cupboard & Cafe. “Residents who were once volunteers and donors are now reaching out to the food pantry for help, and we want them to know we’re here for them.”
Many clients at the food pantry working minimum-wage jobs say their wages can no longer keep step with skyrocketing prices of basic goods. The cost for items across the board have increased; food, housing, retail, fuel, and while we all feel the pinch, the impact of inflation disproportionately hurts lower-income families.
Oscar lives on disability benefits from an accident, payments that would normally cover his grocery bill but he is struggling.
“I’ve also had to apply for food stamps and I come to the food pantry to get by,” said Oscar.
Amelia is retired and also live on a fixed income. Amelia says her benefits are no longer paying for the basics she needs to live.
“Everything is much more expensive, the groceries from the pantry help take the pressure off, and I
am very grateful,” she said.
“Our client’s resources, our resources, are being stretched to the limit. Grocery bills are slamming
household budgets and nutrition assistance programs like ours. COVID added hundreds of new people to our food lines, many who have never been in a food line before, and we need help,” said Mina.
There are signs that the economy is improving for some, but there are still a lot of families working to recover from the economic impact of prolonged furloughs and lower household incomes.
By donating to Turning Hunger into Hope, you will be helping hard working men and women provide fresh, nutritious food for their families. The United Way states their buying power allows them to purchase food at a discount, every $1 in donations totals $4 worth of food. That means a $50 donation can feed a family of four for a week.
Paul Mina, President and CEO at the United Way of Tri-County adds, “We are very grateful to those who have supported our organization during this pandemic, donors enable us to do what we do. By working together, we can make sure everyone gets the support they need in this challenging time. Every donation counts, every dollar counts, please help us Turn Hunger into Hope.”
For more information about the United Way of Tri-County’s food pantries and hot meal programs and to donate visit their website at www.uwotc.org/feed.