United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Hunger Commission is the only local program that coordinates food distribution to emergency food pantries and kitchens, working with locations throughout Bristol and Plymouth Counties to alleviate hunger in the region.
Annually, the Hunger Commission distributes hundreds of thousands pounds of food – including fresh, locally grown produce – to local programs for those in need. As a leading statewide advocate on hunger issues, we are responsible for managing Emergency Food and Shelter Program funding for Bristol County.
Since January 2020, the Hunger Commission has delivered 1.3 million pounds of food locally – up 285% from last year!
Are you in need of food? Click here for a list of local food pantries
The Mobile Market was launched in 2015 to provide low-income, working families with free, fresh produce. Since its’ launch, Mobile Market has served over 1,000 families. The market is nearly all-volunteer run from July – October. The produce distributed is donated primarily by Sharing the Harvest Community Farm, a program of YMCA Southcoast, Dartmouth.
This past summer, Mobile Market distributed once per week on a rotating basis – serving both New Bedford and Wareham. Over the course of the summer/fall, the Mobile Market served over 1,700 people with fresh produce. BankFive & Southcoast Health not only sponsored Mobile Markets, but also volunteered to help with distribution each week.
In response to COVID-19, we partnered with Sid Wainer & Son to expand our Mobile Market efforts. Pop Up Mobile Markets were held on Mondays this past summer to distribute 30,000 “Farmer to Families” Food Boxes to Greater New Bedford residents.
Hunger Heroes is a one-day Thanksgiving packaging event the whole family can get involved with. Volunteers gather to sort and package Thanksgiving meals for families in need in our community and the Hunger Commission delivers these meals and turkeys to food pantries for distribution. Turkeys are purchased with a Community Development Block Grant from the City of New Bedford.
Hunger Heroes takes place on Family Volunteer Day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Check out www.volunteersouthcoast.org in each October to register to volunteer.
In 2020, Hunger Heroes took place over 2 days to ensure we could engage many volunteers and stay within the COVID-19 guidelines set by the Massachusetts Governor. Over the course of the 2 days, volunteer successfully packaged 1,000 meals delivered to a number of pantries on November 23rd.
Our Hunger Commission is able to serve our community with the help of several local key partners that provide a significant amount of food donations each year including:
- Sharing the Harvest Community Farm, a program of YMCA Southcoast, Dartmouth: Since 1996, they have been growing and donating fresh vegetables to the Hunger Commission. In 2018, the farm donated over 65,000 lbs of fresh produce and eggs to United Way’s Hunger Commission. The farm is always in need of volunteers, to learn more about how you can get involved, click here.
- Southcoast Health has been partnering with United Way’s Hunger Commission to donate their left-over non-dairy soup and other food items since 2016. Since then, over 260 gallons of soup have been donated – this amount of soup served over 4,160 meals. They also support the Mobile Market by purchasing additional fresh produce to distribute.
- Sid Wainer & Son provides a variety of products weekly ranging from cheese to fresh produce to deliver to pantries and distribute through the Mobile Market.
- The Hunger Commission also receives food from Big Value Outlet, Blount Fine Foods, Copicut Farms, Stop & Shop, and Sweet and Salty Dairy.
Ways to Get Involved
Volunteer at Hunger Heroes, Mobile Market, or with Sharing the Harvest Community Farm. Visit www.volunteersouthcoast.org to find volunteer opportunities.
- Make a donation to the United Way’s Hunger Commission to further our work by clicking here.
- Host a food drive at your business or with your friends & family – click here to let us know you are interested!
- Donate food that your company or business isn’t able to use. Contact Victoria at 508-994-9625 ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org to talk more about how your company can support our work.
Catholic Social Services
Citizens for Citizens (FR)
Damien’s Family Pantry
Dartmouth Council on Aging
Department of Children & Families
Fairhaven Council on Aging
Greater Fall River Food Pantry
House of Hope
MO Food = Life Pantry
New Life South Coast
Sister Rose’s House
Salvation Army (NB)
Salvation Army (FR)
St. Anthony’s Church
Vets Association (FR)