About 13% of Western Mass. residents are food insecure, a rate higher than any other food bank service area in the state.
Since 1983, Brown Bag: Food for Elders has been one of The Food Bank’s core programs. It is the largest direct-to-client hunger relief service in western Massachusetts, made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers, most of them elders themselves. About 6,000 low-income elders across western Massachusetts’ four counties participate in the program, receiving a free bag of healthy groceries once a month.
Brown Bag supplies nutritious groceries that enable elders to make easy meals and eat a balanced diet, which is especially important in helping them fight nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Brown Bag provides special services tailored to the needs of elders:
The Brown Bag program is for elders over the age of 55 who meet certain income guidelines (PDF). People who qualify for SSI, Medicaid, Fuel Assistance or Veteran’s Aid, probably qualify to receive Brown Bag monthly groceries, but many other people qualify, too. For more information about eligibility or to apply for Brown Bag, please call The Food Bank at 413-247-9738 or 1-800-247-9632. The application process is simple and can be completed over the phone. Alternatively, download an application (PDF) in English or Spanish and mail it to us.
Call our Brown Bag department at 413-247-9738 for additional information.