Public Statement on COVID-19, the coronavirus

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts plans local response to coronavirus

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is carefully monitoring the global and national spread of COVID -19 – the coronavirus. While we are currently unaware of any diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the Pioneer Valley, we have convened an internal contingency planning team to prepare for possible local public health emergencies as we continue to fulfill our mission of feeding our neighbors in need. In partnership with local food pantries, meal sites, and shelters, we provide food assistance to an average of 90,000 individuals facing hunger in the region monthly. We also provide nutritious food through direct-to-client distribution — 26 Mobile Food Bank sites and 51 Brown Bag: Food for Elders sites at local councils on aging across the four counties of western Massachusetts.

As a member of Feeding America, the national network of 200 food banks, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is in close communication with this network, sharing contingency plans and best practices. In a recent statement regarding their COVID-19 response, Feeding America emphasized it is:

“… actively consulting with FEMA, National VOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), the USDA and leveraging other partners who are in a position to support measures to ensure access to food for the most vulnerable members of our communities during this situation.”

On the state and local level, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is in close communication  with its member agencies that administer the 171 local feeding sites, the three other Massachusetts food banks, the Pioneer Valley Community Organizations Assisting in Disaster (PVCOAD), and through PVCOAD, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

We will communicate our evolving contingency planning and our services with our member agencies and the public as circumstances dictate.

Photo: Mobile Food Bank Distribution Site in Springfield, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts