Through the efforts of State Rep. Jay Livingstone and City Councilor Kenzie Bok, St. Joseph’s Church in the West End is now serving as an official City of Boston meal site.
Beginning Tuesday, May 26, the city started delivering pre-pared meals to the church at 68 O’Connell Way each weekday morning, which St. Joseph’s distributes to adults and children in need from the Beacon Hill and West End areas Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
“There used to be the food pantry at the West End Branch Library, but that’s closed since all the libraries have been [shuttered] since March,” Livingstone said. “Several churches in the area had dinners each week, which have all stopped, so there hasn’t been a source of free meals for those in need in Beacon Hill and the West End.”
In addition to the city, Rep. Livingstone credits Fr. Joe White and John Lawless, church administrator, for helping to make St. Joseph’s an official city meal site.
This latest food-distribution effort also builds on an earlier initiative taken last month by Rep. Livingstone, Councilor Bok and Sen. Sal DiDomenico through which 580 boxes of food were distributed to seniors and low-income residents living in the Anderson Park apartments at 250 Cambridge St., the Blackstone Apartments on Blossom Street, Beacon House, the Peter Faneuil House and the Amy Lowell Apartments. Each box came with a note attached asking the recipients to contact Councilor Bok’s office in regard to gaining regular food access.
Last week, Rep. Livingstone and Councilor Bok also met with managers of buildings on Beacon Hill and the West End to get them to distribute fliers promoting the new meal program at St. Joseph’s.
“Jay, the city and I recognized there was a big gap in the city’s map of food sites, which were originally being offered to Boston Public Schools kids, but has now been expanded to adult meals as well,” Councilor Bok said. “[Food distribution] started mainly at Boston Public Schools and Boston Center for Youth and Families sites, but since there are none of those in Beacon Hill or the West End, we had a real gap.”
St Joseph’s is one of 26 city meal-sites serving adults in Boston, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the city has served more than 1 million free meals to youth across 68 sites, according to Mayor Martin Walsh’s office.
“We are working every day to meet the needs of Boston’s residents: our young people and our seniors; our homeless and vulnerable residents; our essential workers and first responders; and everyone in our city,” Mayor Walsh said in a statement. “No person should go hungry while we are fighting this pandemic, which is why it is so important that we make food resources available to all of our residents who may need it.”