During the pandemic, job losses have caused increased poverty, and families already facing food insecurity have struggled more. Fortunately, there are many local agencies that are actively working to solve this problem. Just in Marblehead, there is SPUR, The Council on Aging, and The New American Food Project. Also, the Marblehead Democratic Town Committee has an upcoming food drive to support. Take a look at how these organizations are helping people in our communities, and how you can get involved.
SPUR works in Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynn, and Salem, and has for the last six years. Their goal is to “mobilize volunteers of all ages and drive tangible impact” in local communities. In the past years, SPUR has organized the distribution of school supplies, hosted beach cleanups, and grown produce for food pantries. Even during the time of COVID, they have not been idle, making face masks for nursing homes. Also, they ran a program providing packed lunches for seniors and children in Salem. Among the many ways to get involved, SPUR organized a holiday cheer program that brought children the gifts on their wish list.
The Council on Aging in Marblehead primarily helps seniors adjust and become involved in their community. However, there is a program to help homebound seniors receive food during the pandemic. Every Wednesday morning, volunteers from around Marblehead go shopping for the seniors. If seniors are on a fixed income or have a low income, there are still many ways the COA can give them assistance. Visit their website to contact the directors, or learn how to volunteer.
The Marblehead Democratic Town Committee, with help from the Marblehead High School Democrats, is running a food drive on January 23 and 24 at the Marblehead Community Center. The organization itself is donating money and reaching out to its partner groups and members to receive donations for families in need. Such families have requested money donations as well as certain items and gift cards. Take a look at their great website to get involved this week.
Last but certainly not least is The New American Association of Massachusetts, also the New American Food Project. Pre-COVID, this organization focused on helping refugees adjust to a new life on the North Shore by providing education, child care assistance, citizenship classes, and job referrals. To add to all of these resources, the agency has combined with My Brother’s Table to provide food for refugees during the pandemic. St. Andrew’s Church in Marblehead has played an instrumental role because of their volunteer program. People from the congregation volunteer to pack meals and deliver them around the North Shore. According to Natasha Soolkin, the Executive Director of the New American Association of Massachusetts, the delivery of food to these families is critical because it prevents the spread of and exposure to COVID-19, and gives the families extra help. Also, she says that there is always something to do! Go to their website to volunteer, or to this link to help out at St. Andrew’s
Clearly, when we work together as a community we can make a difference in the lives of so many people. The holiday season has already passed, but remember the spirit of giving during the long upcoming months of winter.