Since 1982, The Food Bank has been striving to prevent and alleviate hunger in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties in western Massachusetts. In our region, approximately one in every eight people suffers from chronic food shortages or needs emergency food assistance.
As a food bank, we respond to immediate and emergency hunger through our core food distribution programs. We partner with more than 300 local food pantries, meal sites, shelters, residential programs, and youth and elder care centers to bring 8.1 million pounds of food to more than 200,000 people facing hunger across the diverse urban and rural communities in Western Massachusetts each year. Current Food Bank programs include:
- We believe that it takes a community to feed our neighbors in need, which is why Community Outreach is paramount. By conducting SNAP assistance, organizing community groups toward sustainable change, and advocating for fair and just food policy, we hope to remove the stigma tat comes with seeking food assistance and change the face of food insecurity in Western Massachusetts.
- Food Distribution is the backbone of the food banking industry. The Food Bank brings healthy food both to our member agencies like meal sites, shelters, and food pantries, and to low-income elders through our Brown Bag sites.
- Hunger Education is a critical part of our work. we work with schools, local organizations and businesses, and individuals to educate our community about local and national hunger and how people can get involved in efforts to reduce hunger in Western Massachusetts.
- Our Nutrition program provides educational workshops and materials as well as a nutritional rating system that ranks the healthfulness of each product in our warehouse. We also offer community-based cooking, nutrition, and “smart shopping” classes.
- The emergency food network in Western Massachusetts is comprised of The Food Bank and over 300 of our partner agencies. Our Network Capacity Building initiative allows us to provide training and guidance to agencies with limited resources and staffs, or who are largely volunteer-run.
The Food Bank’s facilities include a warehouse and office in Hatfield, Massachusetts. We also own The Food Bank Farm in Hadley that provides more than 100,000 pounds of fresh, chemical-free produce for Food Bank member agencies each year.