On Sunday, April 2, Boston Dames will generously recognize Executive Director Sasha Purpura and Program Director Alanna Mallon of Food for Free with the Saccone Award.
Food For Free's Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program (CWBP) improves access to healthy food for students in the City of Cambridge. Founded during the 2012-2013 school year, in cooperation with parent volunteers and school administrators, the program provides students in the Cambridge public school system the nutrition needed to sustain them while school is not in session. CWBP sends two lunches, two breakfasts, milk, and fresh fruit home to children. The healthy meals are discreetly packed in the students' backpacks each Friday ensuring that students are better prepared to learn the following week. As of fall of 2016, the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program is now available to every single elementary and upper school student in Cambridge Public Schools.
The parent program, Food For Free, began in 1981 when a group of friends realized that local meal programs were struggling to put food on their tables. With borrowed trucks, these volunteers gathered fruit, vegetables, and bread—food that would have been thrown away—and delivered it to meal programs, pantries, and shelters. Over the next two years, this volunteer effort gained the support of established non-profits and local government. Food For Free was incorporated in 1983 and received 501(c)(3) status in 1985. Today, the Food for Free food rescue program serves 100+ food programs each year, including not only pantries, meals, and shelters, but also day care centers, after-school programs, clinics, and drop-in centers. In 2016, the food rescue programs distributed 1.95 million pounds of food.
Harvard University Dining Services donates approximately 45,000 pounds of food annually to the food rescue program.
Dame Crista Martin
Secretary, LDEI Boston &
Harvard University Dining Services