The sudden economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 health crisis has brought unprecedented requests for emergency food deliveries from the Jewish Family & Children Service’s Family Table.
The Family Table, which provides kosher food for families that earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline, typically provides food for 500 families a month at pick-up locations in Marblehead, Waltham and Canton. The groceries are enough to feed a household of two for 10 days.
Over the last month, Family Table has seen a five percent rise in requests for food, and has seen emergency food requests – which are available to anyone – jumpfrom an average of 7 a month to 120.
“There’s definitely an increase across the board,” said Bernice Behar, director of Family Table. “What we’re seeing is a lot of people who had been living stable but marginal lives and this has put them over the edge and we’re getting a lot of calls from the community. We haven’t seen anything this sudden, it just kind of exploded.”
According to Behar, the requests are coming from people who have lost their jobs and also from seniors. “They simply can’t leave their homes to get food so that’s a big problem,” said Behar.
Each month, volunteers distribute Family Table groceries to residents of 108 towns. Volunteers staff drop-off centers in Marblehead, Waltham and Canton. Family Table also provides delivery service for those who cannot drive. Recipients come from 108 communities across the state, including 21 on the North Shore. According to Behar, most of the requests for food on the North Shore come from Lynn, Peabody and Salem.
The next distribution date in Marblehead will take place on April 26 at Temple Sinai. In Waltham, people can pick up their kosher groceries on May 10 and on May 17 in Canton.
“I think that we’re going to see an enormous increase in the number of people we’re giving emergency groceries to from month to month,” said Behar.
For more information about Family Table call 781-693-5593.