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Food banks in Greater Boston area are at their busiest heading into the holiday season

BOSTON — During COVID, more people were dealing with food insecurity and volunteers say the demand has not decreased.

On Tuesday Stop & Shop and New England Baptist Hospital are teaming up to donate 500 turkeys to Mission Hill residents, and it doesn’t stop there.

“The need is so great. We have to unload tonight. We got 12,000 pounds,” said Irene Cardillo, Director, of Everett Grace Food Pantry.

There are also big donations from grocery store chains that bring items like breads and cakes. Each week about 35,000 pounds of food comes through the parish on Church Street.

“We’ve been giving them (turkeys) out all month and preferably we’ll get some more this week,” said Cardillo. “A lot of people that we service would rather have two big whole chickens than a turkey.”

The need is year-round. When asked how busy the weekends are at the food pantry, Pastor Jetro Caldeira with First Baptist Church said, “Oh, my God.”

On Sundays, more than 1,500 people line up for food. “There’s a lot of freezers in here so with the freezers we have a lot of milk, juice, peanut butter,” said Cardillo.

If the pantry is open the whole weekend, around 2,000 people stand in line.

The demand went up during COVID and the volunteers have not seen a decrease. “There’s poverty. There are rent increases. Food has gone up, sickness, health care,” said Cardillo.

At the Everett Grace Food Pantry, those in need are filled up. “The people need food need clothes, shoes, need love, need hug that’s very important,” said Pastor Caldeira.

The pantry also has a clothing closet, and toys during Christmas. Cardillo said one dollar can cover two meals and encourages people to donate to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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