71% of the people we serve live in poverty. Nearly half of them have had to choose between buying food and paying for utilities, rent, mortgage or medical care.
The mission of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is to work with our community to reduce hunger and increase food security. In Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties in western Massachusetts, approximately one in every ten people suffers from chronic food shortages or needs emergency food assistance. In some areas, rates of hunger and food insecurity are more than six times higher than the Massachusetts statewide average.
Since 1982, The Food Bank has been working behind the scenes of charitable organizations that provide food to people in need in western Massachusetts. Our 300 member agency programs include meal sites, food pantries, homeless shelters, childcare centers, and elder programs. Each year we distribute more than six million pounds of food to these agencies to help feed people in need. At the same time, we are implementing long-term projects to fight the underlying causes of hunger. We know that hunger will continue to increase unless we work towards changing the conditions that create it in our communities.
Like food banks around the country, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts serves as a clearinghouse that connects and fulfills the needs of food industry donors, hunger-relief agencies, and, most importantly, our region's hungry citizens. Food manufacturers, wholesalers, supermarkets, and restaurants donate consumable surplus food that otherwise would go to waste. Community organizations, schools, businesses, and individuals hold food drives and provide financial donations that help make our work possible. The Food Bank also receives USDA commodities, food purchased through a state program (the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program, or MEFAP), and fresh, chemical-free produce from our own Food Bank Farm.
The Food Bank is one of more than 200 certified food banks that are affiliated with Feeding America, a national network of food banks and food rescue programs.
Learn more about what we do.
Read our vision and values statement.