Bread of Life Pop-up Pantry Makes Food Distribution Easy at Lafayette School

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the summer months, it can be taken for granted that the need for many families to access food continues just as strongly as it did in April or May.

Lines at the Food Pantries in Everett have not let up as the months have gone on, and that’s why Bread of Life introduced their pop-up food pantry at the Lafayette School in late May.

Helping to organize and keep records were Ana Miranda and Maria Martinez.

The pantry has a walk-up option, but it also has a very smooth drive-thru option as well – which involves much less contact and time than the pantries with lines for service.

Tainara Candido runs the pop-up, which takes place from 3-5 p.m. every Thursday at the Lafayette front door. She said there are no requirements, and the pop-up – which has operated out of City Hall for years – simply wants to get food into the hands of needy people.

“There are no requirements and no one has to prove anything to get help,” she said. “There definitely is still a huge need in Everett. I really think this one can be easier for a lot of people. The need is there and I don’t think everyone is aware of all the places giving out food, like ours.”

Last Thursday, the traffic at the pantry was steady, and Candida said they serve about 200 families per week that drive thru or walk up on a Thursday.

The first week, on May 28, they had 240 families come through.

Young volunteers Vinicius Terra and Samuel Costa help to load food into one of the vehicles at the Lafayette pop-up pantry.

Patty Kelly of Bread of Life said they have served 555 households in June, and a total of 795 households since they opened in May.

“We’ve been in City Hall for quite some time,” said Kelly. “City Hall is closed for now and the need in Everett continues to grow. There are other food resources in Everett, which is wonderful, but there is need for more. That’s why we decided to add a day on Thursdays.”

Candida said the site is really smooth, and almost made for such a system.

“I do like the site because it’s visible and for us it’s a quick and easy set-up,” she said. “For those coming, you just drive down the street, get the food and leave.”

Last Thursday, cars came in one after another in the afternoon. Volunteers asked where they were from, just for record keeping purposes, and then they proceeded to the distribution point, where volunteers loaded their food in the trunk or back seat.

Margaret Mato, her son Samuel Costa and his friend, Vinicius Terra, have been volunteering at the Lafayette for several weeks. Mato said there is so much need, and it’s something she can do to help.

“I always like to do volunteer work and I do volunteer at my church too,” she said. “It’s our way to help others who need it. There are a lot of people who are in need. Some don’t know or aren’t aware this is here. So, I always tell everyone about it too. My son and his friend didn’t want to come the first time. Now, they have a lot of fun and they like to help. It’s good to know when times are tough whom you can count on.”

Other volunteers are needed to help load up the truck at Bread of Life in Malden and unload it at the Lafayette. Volunteers are also needed to break down the pantry and take supplies back to Malden. Likewise, many volunteers there come from Encore Boston Harbor and with them going back to work, there could be a shortfall of hands to help. Anyone who would like to participate can contact Bread of Life’s Candido at [email protected], 781-281-8302.

She said they would at least be at the Lafayette through the summer.

“We know we’ll be here every Thursday at least through the end of the summer,” she said.

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