Centre Street Food Pantry's mission is to provide families within our community with consistent access to nutritious food in a dignified and sensitive environment. We opened in January 2011 to supply food and essential items to residents of Newton and our neighbors in surrounding communities.
We operate due to the work of dozens of passionate volunteers each week. Our organization is led by a volunteer board of directors as well as two part-time staff who oversee volunteers, food acquisition and pantry operations.
We are a small, committed team that is only able to operate through the generosity of people, local businesses and grants.
We source 90% of our food from the Greater Boston Food Bank where all produce is free due to MEFAP (Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program). We purchase food at a discounted rate from the GBFB and purchase some food and other items (including diapers and wipes) at full price from local suppliers.
We also rely on food donations from local businesses as well as food donated by individuals, schools and organizations in the community.
Everyone who donates to us is also part of us!
We are grateful to be part of such a generous community.
On average 2000 bags of groceries are distributed each month
Our volunteers unload and set up 25,000 lbs of food from the Greater Boston Food Bank each month
Approximately 400 families shop each month.
We also stock personal hygiene and paper products for our shoppers.
We honor all household members. Pet food is always available.
Our pantry program provides nutritious food choices for all ages and needs.
When we hear there are other needs in our community, we address them.
Every month that children are on vacation from school they miss school breakfast and lunch. We help close the food gap they experience with our Kids Club program. All summer as well as February, April and December we allow families with children these extra food items: milk, 100% juice, granola bars, tuna, peanut butter, applesauce, canned fruit, cereal, mac n'cheese and pasta.
The Fuel program provides children in need with a weekend quantity of easy-to-prepare healthy meals so students come back to school ready to learn. Pasta, chicken, peanut butter, oatmeal, dried fruit and healthy snacks fill bags that are delivered to schools each week. We partnered with Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill on this amazing project.
We distribute gift cards from supermarkets to every family in November so they may purchase a turkey or other dinner entree and we (over)stock our pantry with all the fixings for a festive meal! We are thankful for Trinity Church and the Greater Boston Food Bank Partnership with Star Market for their gift card donations each year.
We introduced our Winter Warmer program this December and gave all shoppers their choice of a hat, socks, mittens or gloves. We purchased enough so every child and senior received an item as well as one adult in the household. They brought a smile to children who loved the colorful striped gloves and mittens with hearts on them. Plus we packed the kids choices with candy!
Board of Directors
Amy LesS, PresidenT
jean chadbourne, Secretary
Laurie UtsteiN, treasurer
Rose Saia, Pantry manager
Becky Snow, Volunteer Coordinator
Jessica: I will start by telling you how this all began. Father Todd (Miller) and a few of the other Episcopal clergy in Newton noticed a significant increase in the needy knocking on their doors for items store gift cards, lunches, or any other handouts. I believe each of the churches had a different type of outreach for this type of need.
A meeting was put together by these clergy and some hand-picked parishioners from each of those churches. I was one of those parishioners. At this meeting, there was a goal to find a common way to help with the increased need in the area. Read on...
Amy: With tremendous support from other pantries, parishes and temples around town, a wonderful logo created by Lee Hatfield Designs and all necessary permits from the City of Newton in hand, we opened our doors on January 11, 2011. Our shelves were stocked with donations from Whole Foods, Panera Bread and other generous donors. Volunteers welcomed 14 families in the month of February! Read on...