Volunteers Needed: Help Centre Food Hub Fight Food Insecurity

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The Centre Food Hub needs volunteers for kitchen meal prep, grocery packing, delivering food, and hospitality.

Before the pandemic, the First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain's nonprofit The Centre for Faith, Art & Justice, offered two sit-down meals a week in the church, but once the pandemic hit, they could no longer offer provide onsite meals.

And once the pandemic began, an increase in food insecurity was clearly evident. The two sit-down meals a week became hot meals and groceries being delivered to neighbors. The need grew, and soon enough more than 300 households were receiving food via delivery.

After a while there wasn't enough room to do what needed to be done to continue the operation. The church was able to secure a $100,000 grant from Mass General Brigham, which they used to move the Centre Food Hub to 3702 Washington Street, across from the Forest Hills T station.

"This new location allows for expanded service and increased partnerships with other groups doing the same important work," said Rev. Ashlee Wiest-Laird. "...we have been able to join with JP/Roxbury Mutual Aid and are planning coordinated efforts with Fair Foods.  Within our capacity, food is provided to anyone who asks from JP, Roxbury, Dorchester, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Mattapan, Mission Hill, the South End and Hyde Park."

Grants from the city, the Boston Public Health Commission, and other generous donors are sponsoring this effort. You can help, too. Volunteers are needed.

"Volunteers make this program possible. Hundreds of amazing and committed folks.  Volunteers prep meals in the kitchen, pack groceries, unload the pallets from the Greater Boston Food Bank (15,000 lbs!) and deliver food," said Wiest-Laird.

Meals are delivered three times a week and groceries once a week.Each weekend there are 64 volunteer drivers who make sure food insecure neighbors have access to healthy and nutritious fare. More regular and substitute drivers are needed.

"It's a great way to give back to the community, and so needed at this time when grocery prices are on the rise," said volunteer Gary Ryan.

If you'd like to volunteer please share your interest and availability here.  If you can't volunteer time, but would like to make financial contribution, please visit thecentrejp.org. Donations can be made through the Centre website - Food Justice Program (processed through PayPal) or by check payable to The Centre for Faith, Art, and Justice (Food Justice in the memo line) mailed to 633 Centre St., Jamaica Plain MA 02130.

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