Help from Friends and Neighbors
We’ve never seen a year like this. Global pandemic, economy shut down, massive unemployment – and more people in need than ever before. People who previously had been able to take care of their families suddenly find themselves in need, not knowing where to turn, and yet uncomfortable asking for help.
They are your neighbors, your friends, the one in six children in Eastern Massachusetts who don’t know if they will have enough to eat or a place to live next month.
It’s amazing anyone is still standing. But we are. Open Table made changes, shifting the way we meet our mission from community dinners to prepared take-away meals, from a choice pantry to a drive-thru grocery bag pick-up. We’ve taken our mobile pantry on the road, partnering with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Councils on Aging in Acton, Concord and Maynard, and Concord-Carlisle High School. We’ve made home deliveries to the housebound.
But some things, such as treating people with dignity and respect, will never change. No one should feel ashamed to ask for food, but we understand that some do, particularly people who have never had to ask for anything. We don’t ask for proof and we don’t turn anyone away.
Food insecurity is an issue so big that the World Food Programme received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its work combatting hunger around the world.
We can’t solve the world’s hunger problems but we can address hunger in our community. But only with your help. From the start of this pandemic you have stepped up and offered your time, money and donations of food. All in support of your community, your neighbors and your friends.
You are a vital part of who we are and what we do, and we hope to count on your continuing support during this year’s Annual Appeal. Because now, more than ever, we all need a little help from our friends.
More Love, Less Hunger
“The prepared meals are a godsend. There are days I’m just too depressed to cook. I take care of my sister and she is disabled. We wouldn’t know what we would do without Open Table.”
“Getting groceries from Open Table helps me have more money to pay my bills and get gas in the car.”
“I have been working full time for five years, and I earn more than minimum wage, but I still can’t afford to buy enough food for my family. The drive thru helps.”
These are words from just some of the families that have been helped by your support. Together we can help more of our friends and neighbors. Please make a donation today.
Nobody Plans to Need Help
Paul was uncomfortable the first time he visited Open Table’s new Drive-Thru Food Pantry – he had never used public relief services. He couldn’t believe it had come to this, having worked his entire adult life. But he’d lost his job in March, and now his savings were running low. The mortgage, his daughter’s college tuition, and his mother’s medical bills were all due. He realized he needed a better plan. So reluctantly Paul came to Open Table.
The following week, Paul was smiling. Had he known how simple the system was, he never would have waited so long. Having fresh healthy food on the table meant one less thing to worry about
Unemployment increased dramatically at the height of the pandemic in the 23 towns served by Open Table and still remains significantly higher than a year ago.
Before the pandemic, Massachusetts was the most expensive state in terms of the cost of food. The COVID crisis brought historic unemployment and dramatic changes in the availability (significant disruptions in supply chains) and price of groceries (up 2.6% nationally in April). As a result, many more families are now facing food insecurity, meaning that they don’t consistently know where their next meal is coming from or have to decide between paying for groceries or paying other bills such as rent or medical costs.
Many of these families are struggling with food insecurity for the first time. They may be your friends or neighbors, people who never expected to have to face such difficult decisions.
And children are at even greater risk. The Greater Boston Food Bank and Feeding America project that food insecurity for children will increase 81%, the second highest percent change of any state. The means that 1 in 6 children here in Eastern Massachusetts is now at risk to experience hunger.