Framingham food bank bracing for influx of need amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local businesses are donating everything from meat to fresh produce to help fill boxes distributed by Daniel's Table.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents regularly don't get enough to eat.

In 2018, the federal government estimated 600,000 people in the Commonwealth dealt with food insecurity. That includes one in nine children across the state.

Now, a unique food bank in Framingham is teaming up with local businesses to brace for a surge in requests amid the global health crisis tightening its grip on Massachusetts residents.

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“Right now, we're putting together boxes that will have all the staples, we'll have the peanut butter, and the mac and cheese, and all of those,” David Blais explained at Daniel’s Table.

The Framingham food bank is sending out all of the necessities you might at expect.

But this food bank is a little out of the ordinary. Gourmet meals are on the menu, as well as all kinds of fresh produce.

Former restaurant owner David Blais started Daniel's table knowing that while it's important to eat, food can be also be a comfort.

“To be able to sit at your table in this type of situation and be able to have a lamb chop, that's really special,” Blais said.

He depends on a wide range of donors and says people's generosity staggers him every day.

Boston Sword and Tuna donated 500 pounds of haddock recently. Daniel’s Table also received 10,000 pounds of meat from Walden Local Meat in Billerica.

“What I consider the best meat in the world,” Blais said.

As unemployment goes up, so will need. Blaise's goal is to never turn anyone away.

“We're probably at about a thousand, a thousand meals a week right now. Based on the phone calls [we’re] getting, it’s going to be up to four thousand on a weekly basis.”

Fortunately, more help is on the way.

“In a time when there's so little that we can control, it feels good to be able to do that little bit,” Sam Hendler, with Jack’s Abbey Brewing, said.

Jack's Abbey Brewing in Framingham is now making 150 pizzas a week while they're shut down.

“I guess in every disaster there’s always a silver lining and I think that’s part of it, the way people are responding, companies, corporations calling us, saying what do you really need,” said Blais.

The prepared meals go first to the elderly and shut ins. They distribute the other food to whoever needs it, but those boxes always contain fresh produce and sources of protein.

If you want more information about Daniel’s Table.

You can find more kindness and ways to get involved at boston25.com/heythanks.