July 6, 2021
Citizens for Citizens has been serving low income residents of southeastern Massachusetts since 1965. They run fuel assistance, SNAP application assistance, food pantry, and many other social service programs. Before COVID hit, they were serving 250-300 households per month at their food pantry, but during the spring of 2020 at the height of the pandemic they were feeding 800+ households, and today are still seeing more need than there was before the pandemic. They anticipate that the number of food insecure households will increase when the state of emergency ends and there is a reduction in state benefit programs.
Citizens for Citizens was the main emergency food source in Fall River, as many that relied on elderly volunteers to operate had to close down during the pandemic. They were the only organization that stayed open throughout the pandemic, and provided 3-4 weeks of food to each pantry visitor, an increase from the allotment of 1-2 weeks of food distributed pre-pandemic.
Citizens for Citizens applied to the FSIG program to purchase a refrigerated truck and pallet jacks. They were awarded $112,000 for the project. Backlogs due to COVID have delayed availability of the truck, but they hope to have it sometime this summer.
Once they have the truck, they will be able to distribute food throughout their service area to Taunton, Freetown, the Silver City Galleria and other towns, instead of requiring that households in need travel to Fall River. “We’re so thrilled about getting the truck,” says Liz Berube, the Executive Director. “Going forward it will be so helpful to our operations.” Thanks to FSIG, the program will help them reach more families in need and distribute more food.