ATTLEBORO AREA PROJECT BREAD

Project Bread and Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative ensure uninterrupted food access to low-income students

 

 

Free Grab & Go Meals available at 800 sites statewide for 18 and under

 

ATTLEBORO, NORTH ATTLEBORO, NORTON, Mass. – As food insecurity rises sharply due to COVID-19, many families across the state are looking for additional resources to access food. In Massachusetts, 1 in 5 children are now experiencing food insecurity, nearly doubling pre-pandemic numbers. Federal unemployment benefits are also due to expire soon, leaving many communities worried about an influx of families looking for support. Project Bread, in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is leveraging decades of experience with federal nutrition programs and school and summer meals in particular, to support community partners and school districts serving grab & go meals at more than 800 meal sites throughout the state.

 

In the spring, in the midst of this unprecedented crisis, meal providers began pivoting their programs to ensure students and families had continued access to meals. In Attleboro and Norton, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative has been serving meals since June 22 and has served more than 4,300 meals to date.

 

“We began serving meals the day after schools closed, to ensure that children and families would not face a hunger gap,” says Lisa Piscatelli, Executive Director, of Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative. “Attleboro is a very strong community and we try to solve problems together. During this crisis, we have seen our community organizations come together and help families utilize meals programs and resources across the board. It’s important to us that we address the broader needs of families during this crisis.” 

 

In addition to serving nutritious meals with fresh produce, the organization is sending home activity bags, such as cooking kits, and will provide backpacks for students returning to school in the fall.

 

Locally, there are four meal sites:

 

Attleboro High School, Blue Pride Way, Attleboro MA 02703, Lunch served M-F at 11:30 am

 

Attleboro Housing, Carlon Street, Attleboro MA 02703, Lunch served M-F at 11:30 am

 

Briggs Playground, East Street, Attleboro MA 02703, Lunch served M-F at 11:30 am

 

Norton Glen, Norton Glen Terrace, Norton MA 02766, Lunch served M-F at 11:30 am

 

Meals will continue to be served through mid-September to help address school re-opening delays. Any child 18 and under can receive a meal and no registration or ID is required. Meals are served Grab & Go style, with families able to walk up or drive up to sites. Additional meal sites across the state can be found at

 www.meals4kids.org/summer

 

As the Commonwealth adjusts to COVID-19 restrictions, Project Bread and critical partners like Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative are quickly adapting existing programs and innovating to ensure children and families can continue accessing needed resources in the context of a global pandemic. There is no one-size-fits-all meals model during a public health crisis. In that context, Project Bread provides school districts with essential resources, expertise, grants and technical assistance.

 

“We know firsthand how important these meals are to so many families trying to stay healthy right now, so we are constantly optimizing –evaluating gaps and barriers and adapting as we go,” says Erin McAleer, President of Project Bread. Some communities offer “drive-up meals” to families through car windows to reduce exposure, others use bus routes to drop meals close to students’ homes.

 

Project Bread is the central hub, connecting people to available food resources. Requests for assistance are met with compassionate and personalized support by Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline. Counselors connect people to a wide range of food resources such as SNAP (formerly food stamps), food pantries, meal sites, and more.

 

“We’re looking at unprecedented demand in the coming weeks and months, so scale and efficiency are essential,” McAleer explains. Even now, these meal sites achieve both. “We’re seeing communities, legislators, school districts, families, and government agencies come together in new ways. Collaboration and agility are paramount to effective crisis response and I think everyone involved understands how high the stakes are now.”

 

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333) operates Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Assistance is offered in 160 languages and a dedicated line is available to those who are hearing impaired. Strict safety protocols and best practices for social distancing are being closely adhered to across distribution models and locations for maximum safety. No registration or ID is required to receive a meal. The nonprofit’s COVID-19 Resources pages in English and Spanish.

About Project Bread

Project Bread is the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts.  Beginning in 1969 with the first Walk for Hunger, the nonprofit focuses on driving systemic change to ensure people of all ages have reliable access to healthy food. Project Bread works collaboratively across sectors to create innovative solutions to end hunger and improve lives across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit: 

www.projectbread.org