NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Feeding the Frontlines, an effort to deliver meals prepared by local restaurants to individuals and families in need of food during the pandemic, launched Tuesday.
Two local organizations in Northampton have been providing food for those in need since the beginning of the pandemic and Tuesday, they’re taking their mission even further. The Downtown Northampton Association, and local sustainable agriculture and food systems organization Grow Food Northampton partnered to make this project possible.
Food insecurity has been an issue for families in western Massachusetts for years but the need for fresh food has increased during the pandemic. Francie Lin and other volunteers with Grow Food Northampton’s Community Food Distribution Project help deliver locally grown food to doorsteps of local residents at 13 locations twice per week.
In conjunction with The Northampton Downtown Association and other local restaurants, they will now be adding prepared meals from local favorites to their deliveries.
“We take goods from the Northampton Survival Center and pair them with local produce we buy at local farms and now we have these restaurant meals so we distribute everything all at once,” said Lin.
The project will start on Tuesday with 24 meals prepared by Jake’s that will be delivered to Community Food Distribution Project participants living at Florence Heights and the Lumber Yard. Additional Northampton restaurants will join in in the coming weeks and meals will be delivered, along with the usual produce and foods, on a rotating basis to all of the 13 locations currently served by the CFDP.
“It’s helping to keep the restaurant alive in downtown Northampton so it’s a mutually beneficial system for everyone in the community,” Lin added.
The news release states the meals will include meatloaf, garlic green beans, and smoked gouda mac and cheese.
“Knowing that Grow Food Northampton has, since the start of the pandemic, conducted the Community Food Distribution Project to deliver fresh produce and other foods to people experiencing food insecurity made me think, this could be a beautiful partnership! We can support our local restaurants by purchasing their meals and work with Grow Food Northampton to get them to the people who need them the most,” Cahillane said.
According to Cahillane, Whalen Insurance in Northampton supplied the seed funding that both supports the local restaurants and feeds the families in need.
Lin said they’ve provided fresh, organic produce purchased from local farms and other foods supplied by the Northampton Survival Center to over 800 families and 2,000 individuals.
Other restaurants participating in the program include the following:
- Belly of the Beast
- India House
- La Veracruzana
- Local Burger
- Miss Florence Diner
- Paul & Elizabeth’s
- Progression Brewing Company
- The Roost