BOSTON (Mass.gov) – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today joined MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and officials from the City of Boston, Greater Boston YMCA and Greater Boston Food Bank to highlight an innovative partnership to help provide Boston’s most vulnerable residents with access to food by utilizing RIDE paratransit service.
“Our administration is committed to addressing food security concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this partnership between the MBTA, City of Boston, YMCA and Greater Boston Food Bank is an innovative way we can support our most vulnerable residents during these unprecedented times,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are glad this initiative is making a difference, and appreciate the work of so many partners to make it happen.”
“This unique initiative to address food insecurity is another way that the RIDE is serving residents in need during this public health emergency,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is grateful to the many leaders, organizations and residents that have stepped up to help their neighbors through the pandemic.”
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the operators of our RIDE vehicles who have stepped up to help our most vulnerable neighbors access food,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “This partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, the City of Boston and the YMCA has been a tremendous success, resulting in the delivery of tens of thousands of bags of groceries to citizens in need.”
“Our work in providing food during the COVID-19 public health emergency is a great example of everyone coming together to support our residents’ most immediate needs, and we look forward to continuing this work during the summer and beyond,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I thank the MBTA, and our partners at the YMCA, and the Greater Boston Food Bank for helping us strengthen the City of Boston’s food access work that has already provided over two million meals to our residents most in need and negatively impacted by COVID-19.”
“The unique collaboration between GBFB, the YMCA, the City of Boston and the MBTA was born out of necessity and sheer will power to get food to those in need during this historic public health crisis,” said Carol Tienken, COO of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). “We aim to continue our work together, to end hunger here.”
“We acknowledge the strong leadership of Governor Baker during the pandemic and relish this opportunity to partner with the MBTA, Mayor Walsh and City of Boston to deliver food to our most vulnerable children, families and seniors. It is a blessing to coalesce our organizational skills, infrastructures and ‘people power’ in the spirit of serving others,” said James Morton, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “We thank the MBTA and City of Boston for allowing the YMCA of Greater Boston to participate in this important partnership, as we are universally committed to mitigating hunger for all Bostonians during this crisis and beyond. We appreciate the recognition of our work from our partners, Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh.”
As ridership on the MBTA’s RIDE service has significantly declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, available RIDE vehicles are currently being utilized to pick up and deliver food items and school meals to residents. Collaborating with GBFB and the YMCA, RIDE drivers arrive at the YMCA location on Huntington Avenue daily to pick up an assortment of grocery bags and shelf stable school meals. Groceries are delivered by RIDE vehicles to designated homes, the amount based on the size of the household and whether or not the family is enrolled in the Boston Public School partnership.
As of the end of June 2020, the RIDE has completed over 8,000 deliveries, totaling more than 12,000 grocery bags and nearly 60,000 school meals to over 1,200 Boston Public School children.
In May, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $56 million investment to combat food insecurity, consistent with the recommendations of the Food Security Task Force. Last month, the Administration announced the opening of applications for the largest portion of that investment, the $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program.
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