WBZ Cares: GBFB, More Than Just A Simple Pantry

Greater Boston Food Bank (Photo: Greater Boston Food Bank/Facebook)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is working to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.

The massive warehouse at the food bank is a very busy place, complete with stop signs and signaling systems. The food that is stored in the warehouse is either donated or purchased and the 530 participating food pantries get to pick what they want every month.

“Our member agencies go online, they order their food, we select it and stage it and have it ready for their pickup. So here is an example, today we have a food pantry called Project Turnabout that will be here at 11 o’clock and has scheduled to pick up at dark too. When they show up, we bring the food to the door after they’ve checked in and we help them load the food into their truck,” stated Cheryl Schondek, Vice President of Food Acquisition for ‎The Greater Boston Food Bank.

Schondek says checks and balances are in place for making sure all the food they distribute is fresh. “Fresh green beans and you snap it,” she said.

Jonathan Tetrault, Senior Vice President of Distribution Services, says the pantries and soup kitchens they serve run the gamut as far as size. “Large, professional, multiservice organizations, to very small church basement distributions,” he added.

The food bank also provides direct services in underserved communities. Tetrault says they hold farmers markets in the parking lots of health clinics. “Free, nutritious, mobile markets, school based pantries, as well as senior brown bag programs. These monthly distributions are designed to dovetail with the local pantries and meal programs that are out there in the network. Really try to fill gaps in those distributions in those 190 cities and towns that we service,” he stated.

The food bank runs 18 mobile markets, 9 school-based pantries and 47 senior programming sites, serving 14,000 households every month.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Kim Tunnicliffe Reports

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