About 13% of Western Mass. residents are food insecure, a rate higher than any other food bank service area in the state.
By: Justin Costa, Food Sourcing Coordinator
In the spring of 2010, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and long-time supporter Stop & Shop partnered to address the need for protein among Food Bank member agencies. A food recovery plan was formulated that was modeled after similar programs taking place with other hunger-relief partnerships across New England. Many of these programs recover perishable items that can still be distributed to households seeking food assistance.
The partnership between The Food Bank of Western Mass. and Stop & Shop resulted in a program that targeted protein items—specifically meat and poultry—that had excellent nutritional value and were safe for consumption. These items are inspected by qualified full time associates and then frozen on its “sell-by date.”
For over two years, The Food Bank of Western Mass. has been making weekly pickups of these recovered donated items at Stop & Shop stores throughout the region. The program has been an unprecedented success. Since its launch, The Food Bank of Western Mass. has received nearly 250,000 pounds of quality protein items from Stop & Shop locations, which are then passed on to Food Bank member agencies and to the clients they serve. With the commitment and dedication of Stop & Shop and its employees across Western Massachusetts, 2012 was our most successful year to date. Last year alone, the program was able to recover more than 107,000 pounds of meat and poultry!
These safe and nutritious food items have become a valuable and consistent source of protein to our member agencies. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is truly grateful for Stop & Shop’s continued partnership in reducing hunger and increasing food security in Western Mass. This is a true example of working with the community to achieve the mission of reducing hunger and increasing food security in the region.
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