Sustaining Investments from the Cummings Foundation, the Mary Alice Arakelian Foundation, the United Way and More Will Drive Progress Throughout Northeastern Essex County
Our Neighbors’ Table, a non-profit organization that has turned food assistance on its head by providing flexible, personalized programs through Northeastern Essex County, today announced that it is poised to declare Newburyport, Salisbury and Merrimac “Food Secure Cities” by the end of 2020. This comes on the heels of declaring Amesbury its first Food Secure City in 2018. Additionally, Our Neighbors’ Table has laid out a strategic plan to ensure its entire service region in Northeastern Essex County is food-secure by 2029.
Our Neighbors’ Table has secured both short and long-term investments that help make this vision possible:
“The volume of meals we have distributed has more than doubled over the last three years. Our focus now is ensuring those meals get into the hands of all of our neighbors who need it,” explains Executive Director Lyndsey Haight. . “While the economy is thriving for some, we are seeing more and more people in our community falling through the cracks. We’ve seen first-hand the impact we can have when individuals, city- and town-services, businesses, and community groups come together. Food security is something we can provide for every person living in our community.”
Despite the economic recovery and the prevalence of wealth in the region, the level of food insecurity in northeastern Essex County has increased by almost 10%, by more than 15% in Newburyport and by 40% in Salisbury, since 2015 (data provided by Greater Boston Food Bank).
Serving 11 communities of northeastern Essex County, ONT has established a strong collective formally known as the Food Security Advisory Council (FSAG) that is working together to better understand the barriers that prevent local residents from accessing adequate and nutritious food on a daily basis and to formalize effective strategies to make food available and accessible to everyone when and where it is needed.
Food Insecurity is defined by the USDA is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.
The Food Security Advisory Council includes the Mayors of Newburyport and Amesbury; Anna Jaques Hospital, Superintendents from the Amesbury, Newburyport, Triton and Pentucket school districts; Children’s Health Care; Councils on Aging in Salisbury and Newburyport; and law enforcement, social service providers, and town officials from across the region.
Hunger affects 1 out of every 16 people living in northeastern Essex County. That means there are 6,000 neighbors with empty plates on their tables. Even more staggering, 1 out of every 5 of our seniors and 1 out of every 8 children in our region are struggling through each day without enough food. Our Neighbors’ Table has eliminated the traditional approach of strict schedules, cumbersome qualification and limited food selection by offering people-centric experiences and access to fresh, wholesome food when and where people throughout northeastern Essex County need it. Our grocery programs provide food assistance to individuals and families living in Amesbury, Boxford, Byfield, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, South Hampton (NH), and West Newbury. Visit ourneighborstable.org for more information.