The state of Massachusetts provides food stamps to low-income families and individuals under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under the USDA. Food stamps can be used to purchase most food items and can be used anywhere that sells food, in most cases. You must meet certain requirements to receive food stamps. Find out if you are eligible and learn how to apply.
Running a Food Drive
Food Pantries love food drives. The largest food drive each year is the National Letter Carriers food drive in May which helps many pantries stock their shelves for several months in last spring and early summer. Food drives held through out the year by school groups, businesses, community service organizations and individuals are a great way to help your local food pantry alleviate hunger in your area.
Joan Bukosky of Our Neighbor's Table in Amesbury put together this great resource, Tips for Running a Successful Food Drive. Feel free to download and customize for your organization.
Many food pantries and soup kitchens offer much more than a meal. Some have job training programs, case management or affordable housing programs. Check their websites to see what else they offer. If they do not offer these services, most know organizations in the local area that do.
In addition, here are some directories that may help you locate programs in your area:
Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more. Go to www.211.org to learn more
Project Bread has a toll-free foodsource hotline. Call 1-800-645-8333.
Find summer meal sites for kids at www.meals4kids.org
Essex County Nonprofit Directory is a directory of nonprofit organizations and services in Essex County.
North Shore Portal is a directory of social services in the north shore area.
Looking for resouces beyond Essex County and Massachusetts? Visit 99 Great Organizations Confronting Poverty and Hunger, a great compilation of tools to find food pantries and hunger relief services nationwide.