Food insecurity is a complex problem and does not exist in isolation. Many food-insecure families also struggle with disadvantages resulting from structural racism, lack of affordable housing, high food costs and low wages. Unfortunately, none of these issues take a break over the holidays.
To help all families enjoy the holidays with a homecooked meal, UnitedHealthcare of New England worked in collaboration with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay to support Merrimack Valley’s annual Thanksgiving Project.
Established in 1999, this annual initiative aims to help ensure holiday meals can be enjoyed with loved ones by distributing food and grocery items to families across the Greater Boston area.
This year, a team of UnitedHealthcare volunteers were on hand as the Thanksgiving Project provided more than 280,000 pounds of food to families in need – the largest distribution in the program’s history.
“UnitedHealthcare of New England is dedicated to caring for our community and addressing social determinants of health like food insecurity,” said Mary Snyder, chief executive officer for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare business in New England. “United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack’s Valley’s Thanksgiving Project helped serve more than 80,000 individuals, including 20,000 families this year, and we were honored to sponsor this event and have our employees assist in packing meals for the project.”
Food insecurity has broad effects on health due to the mental and physical stress that can impact one’s overall well-being.
“Families across our region look forward to gathering with loved ones to enjoy a hearty meal over the holidays, but we know that many households need a little extra support,” said Bob Giannino, Ansin president and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “In our 23rd year, amidst long-lasting impacts from the pandemic and soaring consumer prices, this was our most important and largest Thanksgiving Project yet. We are so appreciative of our agency partners, volunteers, donors and elected officials who lock arms with us today and every day in support of our communities.”
The Thanksgiving Project provided for families across Eastern Massachusetts, with 24 distribution sites in 21 communities: Attleboro, Chelsea, Dorchester, East Boston, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Mattapan, North Attleboro, Quincy, Randolph, Roslindale, Roxbury, Somerville, South Boston, the South End, Taunton, Waltham, and Weymouth.