food insecurity

Waltham Boys & Girls Club Aims to Help Food Insecure During Pandemic

The non-profit organization is providing balanced breakfasts and lunches each weekday to hand out to kids in the city

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When schools closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, many children were left without access to affordable and nutritious food. But one non-profit organization in Massachusetts is working to make sure children in their community do not go hungry.

When the school year abruptly ended, the Waltham Boys & Girls Club decided to get creative with food distribution.

"When schools closed, we really pivoted our efforts," said Waltham Boys & Girls Club executive director, Erica Young.

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For the organization, that means online programming and food delivery.

Staff pack up more than a hundred balanced breakfasts and lunches each weekday to hand out to kids in the city.

"We have the resources and capacity to pack up, put in vans, go out to the community. Be in the actual neighborhoods where the kids need us so we can serve right there," Young explained.

The club sets up in three locations each weekday morning, handing out bagged meals.

Now, during the pandemic, no questions are asked. Normally, they would linger at a delivery spot, maybe even play music and talk with the kids. But during this time of social distancing, it's a quick process while wearing masks.

"Things are tough, for everybody," said Isabel Small who works at Waltham Public Schools and lives at a local housing authority complex where food is delivered.

She sees the kids every day and says some depend on the meals.

"On Fridays, they do give extras, which is great, because it helps them through the weekend until Monday when they can come again," Small said.

This summer, the club hopes to slowly welcome kids back in person and they will also start handing out prepared meals at more locations around the city.

"Food insecurity is really a hidden issue that is in all of our communities, especially Waltham. With this crisis and pandemic, it has just really amplified it," Young said.

The Waltham Boys & Girls Club also serves dinner each weekday night at different locations. The club plans to post their summer meal delivery locations on their social media pages.

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