In 2017, the Massachusetts Salvation Army provided 26% more meals than the previous year. Increases that large generally indicate multiple factors. First, there is a spike in requests and second, our capacity has expanded to meet felt needs.

We see a trend in this staggering increase from providing 2.4 million meals to 3.1 million. The most signifi cant change was the number of food pantry orders. Just as we are not satisfi ed to simply provide meals to the hungry, we never stop seeking new resources to be able to provide to those in need.

Through growing partnerships with food rescue agencies and direct food donations from stores, we are able to provide more fresh produce than ever before to the families we serve.

A wonderful example of such collaboration is the Food Today program in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Every Friday, a truck from Lovin’ Spoonfuls arrives with food on the verge of its use by date. Volunteers repack the food from cases down to family-sized bags. On an average Friday, 80 families receive assistance, arriving hours before the distribution begins.

“I have my grandson with me and it’s a blessing,” Sheila says. “They give you enough for the weekend and then I budget that to help through the week until I come back Friday.”

Commanding Officer, Captain Myron Smith, shares, “Food Today is a great ministry because it is getting healthy food in the hands of our neighbors in need, but also because of our ability to partner with other organizations to collectively meet a basic human need.”

“My favorite thing is the milk and eggs, and of course bread. At the supermarket now, everything’s expensive,” says Patricia. “We see what we get here, and then we go to the supermarket and get what we didn’t get here.”