The food that we distribute comes from a number of different sources, including the state government (MEFAP), the federal government (TEFAP), local farms, our own Food Bank farm, retail and wholesale food businesses, community organizations, and individual donations.
Once received and processed, the food is distributed to our member agencies, or through our own direct-to-client programs (such as our Mobile Food Bank or Brown Bag: Food for Elders). The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is a proud member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks.
We are the umbrella organization for the emergency food network in Western Massachusetts, bringing nutritious food to hundreds of our member agencies, 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.
Food Bank Farm
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 of Easthampton. They lease the use of the land from The Food Bank, in exchange for providing at least 100,000 pounds annually of fresh, local, chemical-free produce to us. The food is distributed by us to our member agencies, as well as through our Mobile Food Bank and Brown Bag: Food for Elders programs.
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 Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator offer a number of programs to our member agencies, 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 member agencies to determine their individual needs, opportunities for collaboration with other agencies, 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.