LYNN, MA (July 24, 2020) – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Massachusetts in March, The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division was already experienced at providing emergency feeding throughout the year. This week, Governor Charlie Baker acknowledged The Salvation Army for reaching a significant milestone in its fight against food insecurity. On Wednesday, July 23, during a visit from the Governor and members of his administration, The Salvation Army announced that it has distributed more than 8 million meals across the Commonwealth with more than 1.8 million coming from The Salvation Army in Lynn.
“The Salvation Army recognized a rapid increase in need, so we ramped up and pivoted existing food programs to provide additional prepared meals and food boxes,” said Chris Farrand, Regional Director of Emergency Services for The Salvation Army’s Massachusetts and Southern New England Division. “Our emergency disaster services team was activated and we were able to create six feeding hubs across Massachusetts to create emergency feeding boxes.”
Through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s (MEMA) Feeding Task Force, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services helped coordinate food deliveries to critical need areas, including hotels that were housing the COVID positive, the homeless, and other at-risk populations. Additionally, the non-profit’s emergency deployment with MEMA and the National Guard allowed The Salvation Army to provide an extra 31,000 meals a week to the City of Chelsea — a hot spot in the state.
With the demand for food reaching an all-time high across the state, The Salvation Army Corps and other local food pantries have seen an uptick in requests for assistance.
“Through the Governor’s Task Force, The Salvation Army and MEMA drafted a plan to provide an additional 225,000 emergency food boxes to the Commonwealth,” Farrand said. “Boxes were then distributed directly to the state’s four primary food banks. By the end of August, we anticipate that The Salvation Army will have served more than 10 million meals in response to COVID-19. ”
During his visit to The Salvation Army in Lynn, Baker and members of his administration announced their continued investment in fighting food insecurity with the distribution of a first round of grants to support local producers in light of the COVID-19 economic downturn. The $3 million in grants to 26 organizations announced Wednesday is part of the state’s $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, which is intended to continue accepting applications and distributing funding on a rolling basis.
“That 8 million meal milestone is an incredibly important one when you think about the work of The Salvation Army and the integral role they have played in helping so many of us provide relief and support for people in Massachusetts,” Governor Charlie Baker said at the press conference. “The Salvation Army has been an incredible partner to the Commonwealth and to the people of Massachusetts over the course of the past 150 days or so. I can’t go anywhere in Massachusetts that has something to do with food without seeing a Salvation Army food box someplace in a warehouse, store room, front room of every organization that is trying to make sure the residents of Massachusetts have something to eat.”
The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division has been able to meet the unprecedented need only with the help of community partners, including individual donors, foundations, corporations, and local and state governments.
“If it wasn’t for organizations like The Salvation Army and the staff and volunteers who step up to let these organizations flex and meet the demand, we couldn’t do this,” Baker said.
Each week, 20 tractor-trailer loads with 25,000 emergency food boxes per week are trucked into Massachusetts to help meet the urgent need. In communities like Lynn, The Salvation Army has gone from feeding 70 families a day to about 500 since the pandemic began.
To support The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit www.salvationarmyma.org/give or text TSA to 41444.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps nearly 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.salvationarmyma.org. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @SalvationArmyMA and #DoingTheMostGood.
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Take a look at Governor Charlie Baker's visit to The Salvation Army in Lynn.
Press Conference Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGvtmxPmJsA