American Red Cross and United Way launch mobile food assistance program

Food truck will visit communities in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell and Revere to help provide families with emergency groceries.

Faced with food assistance needs that continue to grow, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and American Red Cross of Massachusetts today announced the launch of a new mobile food and nutrition assistance program, specifically designed to serve communities and populations experiencing high hunger rates.  The new Food and Nutrition Mobile Market will provide nutritious food assistance, nutritional counseling and food stamp benefits assistance once per month, and will ramp up to provide emergency groceries up to once a week in targeted communities.

To serve additional families, United Way is providing $80,000 to the American Red Cross to purchase a new 24-foot truck to complement its “bricks and mortar” food distribution system at its two food pantries.  With the new mobile food assistance truck, the Red Cross and United Way can target communities where low-income families have limited access to nutritious emergency groceries, so-called “food-deserts” in Eastern Massachusetts.  Communities that will benefit from the new mobile program include the cities of Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Chelsea, East Boston, and Revere.

“This new mobile partnership will enable the Red Cross and United Way to serve additional individuals and families who may not be able to visit the traditional food pantry locations,” said Michael K. Durkin, president at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and MerrimackValley.  “As a partner of the Red Cross for nearly 50 years, we are proud to support the new mobile service to provide even more children and families with the nutritious emergency food assistance they need to focus on getting back on their feet – and staying there.”

“We are incredibly thankful to the United Way for their continued contributions to the American Red Cross and its commitment to supporting our work in the local community,” said Ralph Boyd, chief executive officer of the Red Cross of Massachusetts. “This generous donation allows us to enhance the work of our existing food pantry and further develop local solutions to the problem of hunger.

Established in 1982, the Boston Food Pantry of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts served over 105,000 clients in the last year alone.  The number of families served by the pantry has grown by 400% over the past ten years.

Read more in the Boston Globe article.