I read something recently about the irony of the phrase "just vanilla." Poor old vanilla has become "plain" in light of so many new, exotic flavor combinations. Yet vanilla is a flavor that comes from the seeds of a tropical orchid whose flowers last only one day, and is the second most expensive spice in the world! This got me thinking about all the things I eat that I take for granted. We have so much available to us in our local supermarkets, farmer's markets and specialty shops - if we have the money.
For decades, the federal government has provided SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants and children) to make funds available directly to lower-income households to purchase groceries. But SNAP benefits decreased across the board in July due to the end of COVID-SNAP benefits. At the same time, food costs are 24% higher in Eastern Massachusetts (including the Boston metropolitan area) than in the rest of the nation. This makes it one of the most expensive places in the country to eat. The average food costs in the Boston area are estimated, depending on the exact community, at between $380 to $640 per person per month. Add to that the high cost of housing in the Boston area, and the result is lower-income households experiencing continual financial strain.
This is why, working with YOU through your gifts and volunteering, Bread of Life is making a huge impact for good. Together, we are implementing food justice by providing access to healthy food for communities that are lower-income, people of color and immigrants. Even as we prepare to move into our new building at 54 Eastern Avenue Malden in early 2024, we are still expanding to serve more people. In April, we began distributing 3,000 pounds of food every week through the new Family Care Pantry, in coordination with The Family Church in Everett. This year to date, we have served 21,472 households compared to 19,761 in 2022.
Thank you for your compassion and for your hunger for food justice. We couldn't do this work without you.
God bless you,