On a crisp Saturday in January 2021, Random Acts Board Member Susan Markowitz and her husband Richard Krushnic teamed up with Our Table Lawrence to help feed families experiencing food insecurity in Massachusetts.
Supporting Food-Insecure Communities
Since its founding by Ana and Aldonsa in April 2020, Our Table Lawrence has fed 173 families, including 200 children. The organization is operated entirely by volunteers planning, purchasing, and delivering meals and basic necessities to an average of 15-20 families per week.
Previously, Our Table Lawrence could deliver meals to an average of 30-40 families per week. However, donations have been steadily decreasing — most likely due to the pandemic. On average, it takes $100 to feed a family of four for one week. This can be accomplished by purchasing bulk items such as 20 pounds of rice, a quart of oil, beans, eggs, and a gallon of milk. In addition to providing these meals, Our Table Lawrence also sends a children’s book with every family’s meal delivery.
Inspired by their mission, Susan and Richard joined up with Ana and two local volunteers at a bodega. During their visit, they helped pack and deliver one week’s worth of meals to 70 families in Lawrence. Thanks to a monetary donation from Random Acts, meal deliveries have nearly doubled temporarily and will continue into winter.
Unequal Distribution of Food Insecurity
Across all of Massachusetts, the city of Lawrence is home to the state’s largest Hispanic population. In fact, out of the approximately 81,000 citizens in 2019, an estimated 66,000 65,610 people identify as Hispanic or Latino according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is nearly enough to fill Gillette Stadium, a popular American football arena. Significantly, Hispanic and Black households with children across the nation are now nearly twice as likely to experience food insecurity compared to similar white families.
Additionally, Lawrence has been and remains one of the poorest cities in the state. The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the unequal effects of food insecurity on impoverished households. In addition, studies examining these effects these studies do not address affected unhoused persons or communities.
Overall, the pandemic combined with existing poverty and racial inequality means Hispanic communities are more likely to go hungry. Without proper nutrition, individuals face impaired cognition and higher risk for illness. Particularly, underfed or undernourished children run the risk of impaired language, motor, social, and cognitive development.
Help Put Food on the Table
Random Acts firmly believes no one should ever have to go without a healthy, affordable, and culturally-appropriate meal. Please consider supporting your local food banks, farmers markets, and community gardens in an effort to mitigate food insecurity.
Whether you are buying meals for one family or 100 families, your contribution makes a significant difference. It means one more child is grinning with a mouthful of food, ready for a new day of running, jumping, playing, and learning.
Random Acts staff members proudly serve communities across the globe by performing acts of kindness to mitigate food insecurity.
You can help us spread kindness by donating to our Food Equity Program or to our general kindness fund supporting individual and community acts. Without your support, these kindness acts would not be possible!