In April 2022, The Food Drive reached the milestone of 300,000 pounds of food distributed – an incredible amount kept out of landfills by a small grassroots nonprofit operating for only 18 months! This number translates to 750,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented, which was an accomplishment we celebrated during Earth Month. It also translates to the $501,000 in value and most importantly, the equivalent of 261,000 meals for our local community.
The Food Drive also fully implemented our Community Freezer program, a partnership between Melrose First United Methodist Church and The Food Drive to provide healthy meals for local food pantries, motel shelters, and community members experiencing food insecurity, especially those with immediate needs. As a result, when a motel shelter reached out to us in April because they were running low on food for their guests, The Food Drivee immediately delivered meals for everyone in the shelter.
Food is a basic human right, and The Food Drive is on a mission to ensure that everyone in our community has fresh, nutritious food.
March was another busy month for The Food Drive, since lines were long and shelves and fridges were often empty at the pantries we serve. Our program now has 110 total volunteers, and we’re closing in on 300,000 pounds of food rescued since we started in November 2020.
We share our stats every month, but our highest priority at The Food Drive is matching food with people for whom it will have the most impact. This month we rescued bags of sandwiches from Starbucks and muscled MANY boxes of produce from Whole Foods, and every delivery mattered. Those Starbucks sandwiches were a healthy lunch for our neighbors whose fixed incomes that don’t begin to cover escalating grocery prices. Those produce boxes went a long way toward meals for elderly and disabled residents living in low-income housing.
The Food Drive is on a mission to direct healthy, viable food from full landfills toward full fridges and fuller plates in our community.
February in New England! Our food rescue teams bundled up for subzero wind chills, climbed over snow piles, navigated ice patches, and doubled up on rescues following nor’easters! In the midst of juggled schedules and crazy conditions, The Food Drive rescued just over 19,000 pounds of food this month.
Blizzards mean panic shopping followed by overstocked shelves, so our staff and volunteers made use of their well-honed car packing skills to fit hundreds of pounds of food in their vehicles. Winter 2022 also means rising food prices and inflation, so we’re seeing a rising demand for food for all of our recipients as well. The Food Drive distributed food to partners in eleven communities in February, ranging from multiple weekly deliveries for the grocery, dinner, and pantry programs at Bread of Life in Malden to a two-block weekly journey from Buckalew’s General Store to Pantry of Hope in our own town of Melrose.
The Food Drive started 2022 with a bang, distributing 17,500 pounds of food in ten communities and continuing our practice of hyperlocal rescue with new donor and recipient pairings. At the request of Food Donation Connection, we added Whole Foods Swampscott as a food donor and matched them with recipient My Brother's Table, a soup kitchen five miles away in Lynn, Massachusetts, where 20% of residents live below the poverty level. We also added a new Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Malden, which now provides meals for the dinner program at nearby Bread of Life. Sweet Spot Bakery in Melrose also joined us as a donor, and their baked goods will provide dessert for Saturday evenings at the Malden Warming Center.
Our volunteers rescued and delivered food alongside us in the midst of the frigid conditions of a New England January...snow, sleet, ice, wind, and bitter cold. Their commitment to recovering good food from landfills and feeding our community instead inspires us every day.
The Food Drive ended 2021 with a rescue total of 190,000 pounds, which translates to 103,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented. For the month of December, we distributed over 19,000 pounds of food in 8 communities, including distributions on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Special holiday deliveries included freshly baked bread from The Bread Shop to the Everett Grace Food Pantry, Christmas cookies and pastries from Sweet Spot Bakery to the Housing Families motel shelter, and our first 1200 pound rescue from a single grocery store to Bread of Life in Malden. We also helped stock the Malden Warming Center with meat, produce, and bread when they opened for the season on December 1.
For the month of November 2021, The Food Drive distributed over 23,000 pounds of food in 10 communities. For Thanksgiving, we delivered 205 donated turkeys to the Everett Grace Food Pantry, sponsored a Pie Drive for residents of Caritas Communities low-income housing, delivered full Thanksgiving meals to guests in motel shelters in coordination with our pantry partner Bread of Life, and hosted a two Thanksgiving Pantry Drives for our two Melrose food pantries A Servant’s Heart Food Pantry and Pantry of Hope. Other recipients this month included Housing Families in Malden, Wakefield Food Pantry, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, Dwelling Place Food Pantry in Woburn, senior housing facilities in Melrose and Malden, and three community dinners in Wakefield.
Monthly report of food rescues by The Food Drive. We rescue seven days per week, and our food rescue donors include Buckalew's General Store in Melrose, Dick's Market Garden in Lunenburg, Farm Direct Coop, Melrose Farmer's Market, Oakdale Farms in Rehoboth, Shaw's Melrose, Starbucks Melrose, The Bread Shop in Wakefield, The Farmland in Wakefield, and Whole Foods Melrose and Woburn.
The Food Drive rescues fresh food from the Whole Foods Markets in Melrose and Woburn, Massachusetts every Saturday and Sunday morning. Volunteers work alongside staff members to weigh and load items, which include fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, bread and bakery, meat, dairy, and pantry staples. Once loaded, volunteers transport food to recipient sites including the Everett Grace Food Pantry (Everett), Caritas Communities subsidized housing residences (Melrose and Wakefield), Bread of Life (Malden), and motel programs housing formerly homeless individuals (Malden and Saugus).