City Serves Thousands of Meals to Cambridge Residents

The City of Cambridge and Cambridge Public Schools, in partnership with local nonprofit Food for Free, have served thousands of meals to Cambridge adults and children since widespread closures and food service disruptions due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak began in mid-March.

Cambridge Community Food Line

The Cambridge Community Food Line, a food item delivery service for Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity, has enabled over 2,600 deliveries to homes since it launched on Sunday, March 22. Over 200 volunteers have helped Food for Free prepare food parcels and deliver them to residents’ homes.

Cambridge residents qualify for the Community Food Line if the food pantry or meal service they depended on has closed until further notice; if they have lost their job or part of their income and cannot afford groceries; if they are homebound due to illness, disability or quarantine and do not have friends or family who can bring them food; or if they are at high risk for COVID-19 and do not have access to a regular food source. To sign up for the food item delivery service, call 617-349-9155. Eligible participants are added to a distribution list to receive a weekly bag of produce and shelf stable grocery items.

Local Restaurants Contract with City to Provide Meals to Homeless Community

With many shelter programs short staffed and no longer having the capacity to prepare meals on site, the City began contracting with local restaurants in Central and Harvard Square on Monday, March 23 to provide bag or boxed meals for lunch and dinner. In its first week of operation, 1,800 individual meals were prepared by eight local restaurants and provided to eight homeless shelters and meal programs in Cambridge. Moving forward, local restaurants citywide are invited to participate in the program. Restaurants interested in participating should contact the city’s Purchasing Department at purchasing@cambridgema.gov

Cambridge Public Schools Emergency Meals Program

Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) has served a total of more than 9,000 meals to families facing food challenges since its Emergency Meals Program began on March 16, the first day that schools were closed. The program serves CPS students and other children in Cambridge lunch and breakfast packed for them by the CPS Food and Nutrition Services Department. Cambridge families who are facing food challenges can pick up one bag per child in the household, regardless of Free/Reduced Price Lunch status or whether children are enrolled in CPS or another preschool, school or program.

Through volunteer support and community coordination by Food for Free, the program now operates 8 pickup sites located around the city, with production and distribution approaching 1,000 meals per day. To learn more, view meal distribution sites, and fill out a Meal Request Form, visit the CPS Emergency Meals Program webpage.

For more information about the city’s Food Assistance resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit www.cambridgema.gov/COVID19/Food

"The City of Cambridge has a long history of working to ensure that our residents have food security. Thanks to our partnerships with Food for Free, local business associations, and local homeless shelters, as well as the admirable efforts of our Public School community, our commitment to providing meals to those currently facing barriers to food access has strengthened during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mayor Siddiqui and City Manager DePasquale in a joint statement. “We’re fortunate to work with our dedicated community partners to quickly put solutions in place that have already provided thousands of food deliveries and meals to people in need.”

The City and the Public Health Department continue to work closely together to identify resources to reinforce the City’s response and preparedness activities. For more information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the City’s dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19.

Page was posted on 3/31/2020 6:53 PM
Page was last modified on 4/5/2020 4:58 PM
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