Volunteers hand out nearly 3,000 bags of groceries to Waltham families

Volunteers hand out nearly 3,000 bags of groceries to Waltham families

WALTHAM, Mass. — Nearly 3,000 bags of groceries were passed out to families in Waltham Thursday afternoon as local food banks step up to meet the increase in demand.

People lined up on foot and from inside their vehicles at the St. Mary’s Church in Waltham.

Healthy Waltham, a local non-profit organization teamed up with the Greater Boston Food Bank to provide the food items. The organization typically holds food distributions throughout the month, but now they’ve tripled their response.

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“As this continues to go on, our neighbors see this as a need because it’s a meal, it’s groceries," said Myriam Michel, Executive Director of Healthy Waltham. “It’s not just canned goods; we’re providing meals that could last them for the next couple of days.”

Dozens of volunteers helped to divvy up the items per bag, each one carrying more than $50 in food products. The grocery bags contained meat, poultry, produce, vegetables, pantry items and frozen foods.

“It’s bittersweet for us. It’s hard to see our neighbors in line, some we may recognize," said Michel. “But it’s sweet that we’re able to provide food on their table for that week.”

Those who arrived once the bags were gone were able to receive grocery store gift cards. Hygienic packets were inside as well, containing a toothbrush and toothpaste.

“I’ll probably make some applesauce, brush my teeth, things like that,” said Daniel Hines, a Waltham resident.

Hines was among the crowd of nearly 700 people waiting for grocery bags.

“It’s a challenge, but I’m not in it alone. None of us are,” said Hines.

The next food distribution in Waltham will be held Thursday May 21.

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