To “Feed our Neighbors in Need” — the first part of our mission statement — we distribute healthy food that comes from a number of different sources, including the state government (MEFAP), the federal government (TEFAP), local farms, our own Food Bank farms, retail and wholesale food businesses, community organizations, and individual donations.
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is a proud member of Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks.
We are the umbrella organization for the emergency food network in Western Massachusetts, bringing nutritious food to hundreds of our members, including pantries, meal sites, shelters, rehabilitation facilities, senior centers, and more. These organizations are the local front-line food assistance providers that serve people in need.
Brown Bag: Food for Elders
Our Brown Bag: Food for Elders program provides a free bag of healthy groceries to eligible seniors once a month at local senior centers and community organizations. The food items are specifically selected to meet their special dietary requirements — they’re low in sugar and salt, and high in the nutrients elders need to stay healthy and active.
Mobile Food Bank
Our Mobile Food Bank delivers a truck full of fresh and non-perishable groceries from our warehouse directly to a community site at a prescheduled time for immediate distribution to residents. The program reaches the underserved populations throughout Western Massachusetts that don’t have access to healthy foods, including families, seniors and children. The program is made possible by a grant from Our Family Foundation by Stop & Shop.
SNAP Outreach & Enrollment
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families across the country. It is the largest domestic hunger program that serves as an important resource to purchase healthy food. Our SNAP Outreach team assists food insecure households to apply for the program and gather all of the necessary documentation in order to receive benefits. We are available to answer all your questions, provide pre-screening and determine your eligibility.
Our Nutrition Outreach team addresses many of the larger nutritional challenges facing our region, and provides our community partners a variety of approaches aimed at helping people develop healthier eating and shopping habits. Our nutritionists offers a number of programs to our members, including nutrition education workshops, food sampling events, grocery store tours in both English and Spanish (using Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters at the Store® model), ServSafe certification and safe food handling training.
Network Capacity Building
The Network Capacity Building Program focuses on building the capacity of the emergency food network to provide more food to more people while increasing client self-reliance. Our staff work one-on-one with our members to determine their individual needs, opportunities for collaboration with other members, and potential expansion of services to better serve our neighbors in need.
We lead the community to advocate for policy change, bring issues of hunger to the forefront, and empower our partners to take action and support solutions to food insecurity. By engaging our elected officials whose decisions impact the health and vitality of our community, we are striving to create a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to nutritious food.
Food Insecurity Screening and Referral Initiative
Food Bank and its partners in the Food Insecurity Screening and Referral Initiative (FISRI) assist people facing food insecurity with accessing food assistance and other wrap-around services. Our services are rooted in established partnerships with the health care community, other social service agencies, and those seeking assistance.
Food Bank Farms
The Food Bank Farm is a 60-acre parcel of land on the Connecticut River in Hadley, protected from any development. It operates as a production farm in partnership with Mountain View Farm which leases the from the Food Bank in exchange for providing us at least 112,000 pounds annually of fresh, local, USDA Certified Organic produce to us. This local bounty is distributed by us to our members, as well as through our Mobile Food Bank and Brown Bag: Food for Elders programs.
After years of searching with the support of the Kestrel Land Trust, The Food Bank is now the proud owner of its second Food Bank Farm… and probably the only one of the 200 food banks nationally to do so. This new 142-acre farm in Hadley builds on the success of our first Food Bank Farm also in Hadley. It represents our unique approach to food banking not to rely exclusively on donated food from food retailers and commodities from state and federal governments. Instead, it is an investment in local farmland for farmers to strengthen our local food economy while also providing a reliable source of healthy organic food for those who need it most—especially during these difficult times.
Learn more about our partner Mountain View Farm:
Annual Report FY22
Thank you to all of our donors who continue to support our mission.