The Community Cupboard Food Pantry has been located in the church since its creation in the early 1990s. It provides food for people in need every Thursday evening from 6:00-7:30. The Pantry is run entirely by volunteers, about half of them from the church and half from the community—a coalition that is reflected in one of its Co-Coordinators being a member of the church and one a community member.

People who come to the Food Pantry are diverse in age, gender, race, and nationality. Some are elders on fixed incomes, some have lost their jobs, some are people with disabilities, and many are heads of families working full-time at poverty-level wages. Much of the food goes to children. Clients must be 18 years old to receive food and have a picture I.D. with their address on it or a picture I.D. such as a passport plus an official piece of mail to show their address. The Food Pantry is open to all people in need. Most clients come from Medford but also from Somerville, Malden, Everett, Chelsea, Cambridge, Revere, and other surrounding towns. The Pantry typically provides food for 70-80 clients each week. At Thanksgiving, the Food Pantry organizes a very large distribution that includes a turkey and all the fixings, and people of all ages from the church and the community come together to pre-bag the food. At all other times, clients choose and bag their own food.

The Community Cupboard Food Pantry is warmly supported by the church but is financially independent. It supports itself through grants from Project Bread and from Tufts University, and from financial donations from businesses, churches, Temple Shalom, and individuals. It also receives generous donations of nonperishable food from local churches, Temple Shalom, the Buddhist Temple, and several local schools. A significant portion of the food that the Food Pantry distributes comes from the Greater Boston Food Bank. If you wish to make a donation of money or food, you are most welcome to do so. Please email the church and someone from the Food Pantry will get back to you.

The Food Pantry is open every Thursday from 6:00-7:30 p.m. and provides food to anyone in need. Clients must be 18 or older and only one person per family may receive food each week. Valid picture id (with address) or picture id and proof of residency is required.

What is available?

Clients typically receive two bags of food which they select themselves. Clients may come every week if they need to. People wishing to use the Food Pantry should come to the front door of the church any time between 5:30-7:30 pm on Thursday evening.

Who uses the Food Pantry?

Typically the Food Pantry distributes food to 50-80 families each week. Many people who use the Pantry come from Medford, Malden, Everett, and Somerville. Clients represent a diverse group of people in terms of age, race, gender, and national origin. People come for many reasons: elders on fixed incomes, people working fulltime at poverty-level wages, people with disabilities, or people who have lost their jobs. Much of our food goes to children.

Who runs the Food Pantry?

The volunteers who run the Food Pantry are a coalition of people from the church and from the community. Clients and volunteers are never asked or expected to have any connection to the church. Although the Food Pantry is located in the church and endorsed by it, the Food Pantry is economically self-sufficient and has no religious aspect to it.

Volunteering

There are between 15-20 regular volunteers who keep the Food Pantry running. Jobs include stocking shelves, staffing the Food Pantry on Thursdays, picking up bread each week, buying dried beans each week, paying the bills, and going to the Greater Boston Food bank once a month. At certain times, such as Thankgiving and the winter holidays, extra volunteers are needed because the number of people being served by the Food Pantry increases. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older.

Donations

The Food Pantry welcomes contributions of nonperishable food, paper and plastic bags, and money. Any nonperishable food item goes directly to those in need. Cereal is pricey and desirable, so it is a good choice as well. Cash or checks (made out to the Community Cupboard Food Pantry) can be sent to the Community Cupboard Food Pantry, c/o The Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford, 147 High Street, Medford, MA 02155. Any donation is most gratefully accepted. During the week, you can drop donations any time during the day that the church staff assistant is in (call the church office, 781-396-4549, or e-mail office@uumedford.org to arrange a time).

On Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m., donations can be dropped off at the side door of the church when Food Pantry volunteers are stocking shelves or staffing the Pantry. Please ring the bell and wait for a volunteer to assist you. Sunday mornings before and after service you may put your donated goods directly in the Food Pantry area at the back of the Sanctuary. Because all sound carries directly into the Sanctuary, please do not drop off any donations during the Service, 11:00-12:15 a.m. (10:00-11:15 a.m. during the summer).