BEVERLY - Ask any food bank about the level of demand around the holidays and you'll quickly learn it's through the roof.
Beverly Bootstraps is a nonprofit organization that provides everything from food to housing assistance. It has been serving people in Beverly for the better part of thirty years.
Sue Gabriel is the Executive Director of Beverly Bootstraps and said the organization helps about 9,000 people with its food assistance program each year, but they are always looking to grow. "We knew there was a gap," said Gabriel. "We knew from the data that we are looking at that there were a number of people that needed to have some help with their food."
Their food bank has normal business hours, but Gabriel said some clients can't make it in during those times and needed a way to expand access.
Gabriel came up with "Food Lockers," the system is consistent of a series of rows and columns of lockers that open when entering a code. These are similar to the ones you might see at your favorite grocery store. These lockers, however, sit outside and can be accessed 24/7.
"Our pantry is open ten to six, but hunger is 24/7," said Beverly Bootstraps' Gregory Ezell. "This was designed so those students could also have food access. People don't think of college students as food insecure. But studies are coming out that that is a growing problem in the United States."
There are of course other populations that are set to benefit from this opportunity.
Beverly Bootstraps said the lockers cost roughly $60,000 and were paid for through donations from the Greater Boston Food Bank and other organizations.
The lockers are set to go live in January.
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