Boston 25 Cares

Giving Tuesday: Rosie’s Place seeing huge increase in food insecurity, how you can help

BOSTON — Founded in 1974, Rosie’s Place in Boston was the first women’s shelter in the country. Nearly 50 years later, their mission is even broader to meet the growing needs facing our community.

It started as a sanctuary for poor and homeless women. Now it’s evolved into a multi-service center for women and their families.

“Advocacy, legal, overnight shelter, wellness programs, education, food programs, which includes a food pantry and a dining room for people to come get a meal,” said Sandy Mariano, Rosie’s Place Chief Program Officer.

Mariano says while there’s always been a need for their services, in 2022, they’ve watched that need grow like never before.

“We’ve seen a new kind of influx of women who have maybe, you know, two or three jobs and lost one of them or two of them during the pandemic and really have gotten backlogged on expenses,” Mariano said.

Amid soaring cost of food, rent, energy prices, many women are turning to Rosie’s Place for the first time.

Mariano says before the pandemic the food pantry served 80-100 women a day. Now they’re serving 350 a day.

“One in three people in Massachusetts are struggling to make ends meet, to buy a meal for their family or feed themselves,” Mariano said.

When they’re able to get some of those needs met at Rosie’s Place, that’s can provide a little breathing room in a family’s budget.

“It means they can pay for other things,” Mariano said. “They’re not going to maybe fall behind in rent or, you know, they can pay for the oil bill this month.”

The Rosie’s Place dining room is open 365 days a year serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Last year alone, they served more than 60,000 meals, both sit-down and to -go.

Rosie’s Place doesn’t take city, state, or federal money. They rely solely on donations. Donations they need now more than ever.

“$50 will help feed a family of four for about a week,” Mariano said. “So, it’s really helpful.”

This holiday season, Rosie’s Place is also hoping to distribute more than 1,000 $25 gift cards to places like Target, Old Navy, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart to the poor and homeless women they serve.

If you want to help, learn how right here. link:

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