NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A local organization that helps those in need, began a special project when the pandemic first hit.

Now, nearly two years later Grow Food Northampton is celebrating the project’s success. Since it began Grow Food Northampton has been focused on taking advantage of the local food system. It’s taken that one step further with this project, making sure that food was on the table of those who needed it most.

“It’s become all of this and it’s so exciting and it makes me so happy,” said Kia Soki, part-time organizer of the Community Food Distribution project.

When COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket at the start of the pandemic, so did the number of people facing food insecurity. Grow Food Northampton wanted to help combat this national issue in Hampshire County, forming the community food distribution project.

“Food insecurity expanded ten fold at the beginning of the pandemic, those numbers have dwindled a little bit but continue to remain fairly consistent,” said Alisa Klein, Executive Director at Grow Food Northampton.

The distribution project began in April 2020, almost two years in and the project serves 800 families and over 2,000 individuals every week.

“It’s so exciting to watch people get fresh produce and really healthy food in their diets and make connections within the community,” said Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, 1st Hampshire District.

Part of Grow Food Northampton’s mission is to help educate. They do so by providing instructions with their distribution boxes so people understand what’s on their plate and how to prepare it.

The produce from this program is purchased from farms in the area, about 27 farms. This translates into being a huge boost for the local economy, certainly a win/win.