On week after the Medford pledged to make the city “Hunger Free by 2028,” the Greater Boston Food Bank, Malden YMCA and the Walnut Street Center opened the Mystic Community Market, a food pantry, seeking to tackle food insecurity in Medford and surrounding communities.

The Greater Boston Food Bank secured the funding and food resources with the support of the Wolk family and Agero, a local Medford business, which helped kickstart the Mystic Community Market. The initiative received enough funds to keep the market operating for three years before it has to get its fundraising in order to achieve sustainability.

“We can do so much more when organizations come together for a common purpose,” said Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank. “This is a three-year vision come true and our goal is to close that gap of 260,000 meals.”

The volunteer-run Mystic Community Market, located at 291 Mystic Ave., inside the Walnut Street Center, can store refrigerated, perishable food, and has a built-in storage space to keep food at hand. It is open five days a week, closing on Thursdays and Sundays.

“There is still a great need for food among people in Medford,” said Tanner Turley, lead pastor at the Redemption Hill Church. “Having this space available to aid the people in need is going to go a long way.”

The market is what the Greater Boston Food Bank calls a “choice and healthy market,” which means that the person in need can pick for their family from a variety of healthy produce, protein, and dairy.

“We want to serve people who are seeking food. The people will be served with integrity and dignity. This is a safe place where they are going to get healthy food that is respectful of perhaps your ethnicity or the way you cook,” D’Amato said. “In this particular one, if you need assistance, please come. You’re welcome.”

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark embraced the effort to end food insecurity and compared it with the Trump’s administration recent budget lash to the SNAP program.

“I started the week with the president’s budget that took out $182 billion, with a ‘b’, over the next 10 years off the SNAP program alone,” Clark said. “We’re going to fight to make sure everyone feels respected and worthy of something so basic as having enough to eat.”

In its first week of operation and without an advertising effort, the market gave 365 bags of groceries to 211 shoppers. The food distributed over this period provided meals for a total 592 individuals in the city.

“No one, not a child, not a senior, not an adult, should ever wonder where the next meal is coming from,” Chief Executive Officer at Malden YMCA Debbie Amaral said.


Original story here.