Storm forces already struggling Chelsea residents to grocery shop after food pantry runs dry

CHELSEA, Mass. — Before Wednesday night’s storm, the line at the Chelsea Market Basket was wrapped around the front of the store. Many of those in line were normally over at the food pantry line. The hardest part, so many people told Boston 25 News, is that they can’t afford to pay the bills and now they’re forced to buy food.

“I have to come here for food,” said Jose Lopez, a Chelsea resident.

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Before the big snowstorm, Jose Lopez showed up to La Collaborative, Chelsea’s food pantry, only to get turned away.

“We started giving out […] our food boxes an hour earlier, and by 4 [p.m.] it was all gone,” said Dinanyili Paulino, a volunteer.

As people were getting out of work, it was heartbreaking to see people sitting in their cars waiting for boxes of food.

“They come and make the line, and it’s horrible turning someone down,” said Tanairi Garcia, a volunteer.

Many people were now forced to go grocery shopping with money they said they simply don’t have.

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“People that were coming out of work were expecting that we have a few boxes left; tonight, we didn’t have any,” Paulino said.

And that’s where our story takes us to the Market Basket in Chelsea, where the line was wrapped around the front entrance, leaving some of the store shelves empty, along with the nearby vegetable area.

“This time that we are going through, it’s too hard to get money to buy food,” said Hugo Meija, a Chelsea resident.

For the Meija and his family of seven, he is now forced to buy food, costing him at least $200 out of his pocket. And, he said, every precious penny is needed to pay the bills.

“It’s been very difficult,” Meija said.

With the snowstorm here, it is making it even harder for families left struggling. Just to give you an idea, over at the pantry they handed out close to 1,000 boxes of food Wednesday. It was all gone within two hours.


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Winter driving tips from MassDOT:

- Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights, even the hood and roof, before driving, (start with the tailpipe).

- Leave plenty of room for stopping

- Remember that the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

- Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.

- Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.

- Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.

- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.

- Seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.

- Most importantly please remember to slow down.

Additional snow content:

- Ice safety tips for safe winter fun

- What is wind chill and how can it hurt you?

- How and when to protect your pipes from freezing

- Winter weather: How to shovel, remove snow safely

- Here’s what to have in your snow emergency kit