The main supplier to the Bedford Food Bank has decreased its food deliveries by more than 40 percent by weight.
Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter told the Board of Health on Monday that the Greater Boston Food Bank has reduced semi-monthly deliveries from 7,000 pounds to 4,000 pounds. “That was a real big blow,” she said.
Porter said the primary reason for the cutback is that the regional food bank doesn’t have enough staff to process and deliver the usual amounts.
Carla Olson, director of Health Bedford, part of Porter’s office, is the coordinator of the food bank. Olson said on Tuesday, “We are going to continue to do everything to meet the need, even if we have to purchase food ourselves.”
Porter and Olson both noted the increasing evidence of food insecurity in the region.
The food pantry provides for about 180 households a week, as well as some supplemental deliveries to more than 200 migrants in emergency shelter at the Bedford Plaza Hotel. Olson emphasized that “the shortage has nothing to do with migrant families. They are not impacting what we are getting to residents.”
Olson said because of the cutback, “we had to reduce some of the frozen items. Instead of two packages of chicken or ground beef per household, we are down to one. “
She added, “This is like a week-to-week situation. It’s hard to know what to even ask for because the landscape changes day to day.”
Porter made reference to an emergency fund for supplemental purchases. Olson pointed out that Bedford Community Table is the financial arm of the food bank.