Communities launch summer meals programs to address local food insecurities
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - With summer officially underway, the focus is on those experiencing hunger and food insecurities here in western Massachusetts, and some new meal options started Monday.
Programs to help fight hunger and food insecurity across western Massachusetts are finding new ways to feed everyone. Whether that is dining in, to-go meals, or eating at a park, there is an option for every need.
According to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, about 76,253 people are experiencing some type of food insecurity, something that the team at Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke, a program created by Providence Ministries, knew all too well when deciding to expand their services this summer. Starting this week, they are offering not just lunch, but dinner, as well.
“We just want to make sure that we feed people,” said Kate’s Kitchen Manager Jasmin Colon. “With the high cost of food now, the children out of school, families are working – we’ve got people who are working two-three jobs, you know, they are never home, so, how can they cook? How can they get food? Well, they can come on down and they can have a meal.”
Jasmine and the entire team cook, serve up the food, host those looking for a meal, clean the kitchen, and once that is done, they start the process all over again. On top of the cooked meals, Kate’s Kitchen also offers everyone that comes with a to-go option of bread, fresh produce, or anything else that they may have available for everyone to take home.
Home Grown Springfield, the culinary and nutrition program of Springfield’s Public Schools, is joining the efforts to feed everyone across western Mass. Starting this week, they are offering free breakfast and lunch for kids 18 and under at different locations, regardless of whether they are from Springfield or not.
Western Mass News spoke to Karly Dunn, the student engagement manager for Home Grown Springfield, who said that providing meals creates stronger connections for the upcoming school year.
“During the summer, we recognize that students are still hungry, no matter what season it is, whether school is in or out. So, we’re excited to always offer breakfast and lunch to the students of Springfield,” said Dunn. “Community loves being a part of it. I think that the more that we spend time out in sites like these and have more face time with our community, we’ve been building stronger relationships.”
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