Feed Brookline logoFriday, November 28th, aided by volunteers from the Brookline Literacy Partnership and BHS Food Justice Groups, BrooklineHub.com kicks off the 2nd annual Feed Brookline Drive to benefit the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry.

Canisters to collect funds and food will be placed in locations throughout Brookline this coming weekend and remain in place through January 2012.  In addition to placing containers, volunteers from Brookline Literacy Partnership and BHS Food Justice Groups will make weekly collections and keep a running tally of proceeds and food.  These totals will be published on the Hub throughout the drive.

In addition to raising greatly needed funds and supplies for the Food Pantry, Feed Brookline is tasked with raising awareness about hunger in Brookline. Unfortunately,  it is far more prevalent than many would assume.

The statistics on hunger in Brookline during last year’s drive were sobering :

  • 13% of Brookline residents live at or below poverty level.
  • Brookline Emergency Food Pantry faces a 30-35% increase in demand compared to 2009.
  • Brookline Emergency Food Pantry sees a 45% increase in costs compared to 2009.

Over a period of two months during the holiday season, the first Feed Brookline Drive raised $4,080.00 and 27 bags for the Food Pantry. Merchant locations throughout Coolidge Corner participated.

This year’s drive kicks of within the context of even greater need :

  • Demand at the Food Pantry has increased by another 30%  – 3,350 visits by people collecting food logged in 2011
  • The number of weekly visits has increased 65% compared to 2002 – The Pantry has had 80 visits per week in 2011
  • The amount of money still required for purchasing food (after accounting for donations) rose from $30,000 in 2009 to $77,000 in 2011
  • An estimated $95,000 will be needed in 2012 to make up for this shortfall.

The reality is that the long standing global economic problems have come home to many in Brookline.  In addition to unemployment, many families struggle with under-employment or a reduction in income compounded by increasing household expenses.  Many face the choice of buying food or paying rent, skipping meals in order to pay a doctor’s bill, going without to keep the lights on.   In the face of such dire need in the community, the 2011 Feed Brookline Drive will include locations throughout town and run past the holiday season.

How to Help Feed Brookline

With hunger a reality for so many neighbors, it can seem unclear where to begin solving the problem.  There are many ways to help during the Feed Brookline Drive.

  • When patronizing participating merchants, place change from your purchases in the collection container.
  • As you are able, donate non-perishable food and personal care items.
  • Inform your house of worship about the drive and request they host a fund and/or food collection bin
  • Spead the word about hunger in Brookline and the Drive through your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
  • Volunteer your time to help the drive (contact editor@brooklinehub.com for information) or at the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry (contact Food Pantry Manager Jim Margolis at 617-901-0848)
Hunger is a reality for a sizable portion of the Brookline residents, and a community-based response is the only way to solve it.

Catie Hayes, Editor