When the coronavirus struck Massachusetts, Ana Javier of the Merrimack Valley Project identified families in Lawrence who were under economic stress and had trouble accessing food due to language barriers or other concerns. Ana worked with her community and the employees and Board of HEET to get food delivered. After the first delivery, Ana received a thank you call from a mother whose family had no food left when the bag of groceries arrived.
Headed by Ania Camargo, HEET’s President, the project is called “Our Table.”
After that first week, it became clear that East Boston was among those hardest hit by the pandemic and should be included in Our Table. In addition to buying groceries, volunteers worked directly with food banks, local businesses such as Corporation Market Bodega, and Christopher’s Cafe to pull together grocery orders and hot meals for delivery.
Mother’s Day was not ignored! Our Table celebrated Mother’s Day by giving moms a box of chocolates with a beautiful hand drawn card made by Astri Horsburgh, a Berkeley college student, who stepped in and drew 25 individual cards the day before.
East Boston and Lawrence are in the top five areas for the highest number of coronavirus cases per capita in the state. As these data became available, it was apparent that Our Table was focusing on the right locations. By week 5, Eastie Farm, one of the organizations participating in Our Table, received a Boston Resiliency Fund Grant and a Boston Foundation Grant to help feed hundreds of people in East Boston.
This funding supported 5,000 meals per week for East Boston and Chinatown families. Through the end of May, Our Table has teamed up with volunteers in Lawrence to provide groceries and other essential items to over 100 families and more than 400 people, including more than 100 children. Thank you to all of you who have participated in this continuing effort.
If you would like to make a donation in support of groceries, prepared meals, or garden seedlings, please contact Ania Camargo.