beats for EATS logoGroup joins forces with Food Pantry

UPDATED, March 29: Beats for EATS raised more than $80,000 at the fourth annual fund-raising event at Arlington Town Hall on March 23.

Andi Doane, executive director of Arlington EATS and the Arlington Food Pantry, reported the amount and announced at the event that the two groups will now be known by one name: Arlington EATS.

In addition, the Arlington Food Pantry is now called the Arlington EATS Market, serving fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meat available weekly for any Arlington resident who needs food.

She also announced that more than $10,000 from the event will be used to fund the summer lunch program, including an expansion of the program at Robbins Library. The group also debuted a new tag line: Neighbors Serving Neighbors.

 “This is how both groups started, and it’s the legacy that we want to continue to uphold. Arlington EATS is a community of friends and neighbors who are working together so that our neighbors have the food they need,” Doane said in a March 28 news release.

The merged organization’s programs will stay the same. They will provide school vacation lunches and community meals, as well as summer lunches at Thompson elementary school and the new Robbins location.

Meanwhile, the Market will continue to be open to Arlington residents on Wednesdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 117 Broadway.

One in 10 people struggle with hunger in Massachusetts, and one out of eight children struggles. In 2017, the food insecurity rate in Massachusetts was 27 percent higher than it was 10 years ago.

At the event, Doane discussed how hunger is so often a hidden problem, particularly in an affluent place such as Arlington.

“It's the child having a hard time focusing, having behavior issues, and whose grades are failing because he hasn't had breakfast because there was nothing in the fridge to eat that morning and so he needs a snack to get him through until lunch. It's the family that has a medical crisis and due to medical bills and a job loss now feel the burden of no longer being able to pay their child's school lunch debt,” she said in the release.

To that end, Arlington EATS is always eager to welcome volunteers to pack snacks to distribute at local schools, sort donations at the Market, and serve vacation and summer meals. “We want Arlington to be a place where no child or neighbor goes hungry,” Doane said. The food pantry and EATS combined forces in July 2017 as a way to provide more food to more people efficiently and sustainably.

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Background: In 2018

Last year, a sold-out crowd gathered for a fun-filled evening that raised more than $50,000 to support food insecurity efforts in our town.

Founded in May 2014, Arlington EATS ensures that the more than 650 local students who receive free and reduced-price lunches still have access to healthy meals when school is not in session.

EATS addresses the need for supplemental food by serving free lunches during summer and school vacation weeks, sending home fresh produce and other staples through our pop-up pantries during community meals, and making snacks available for any student who is hungry during the school day.

EATS brings together those struggling with food scarcity and those concerned with food justice and gives them a welcoming, respectful place to work together to end hunger. Each year EATS works closely with other area food organizations to provide 55,000 pounds of fresh produce to families. For more information about the organization, visit its website >> 

This news announcement was published Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 and updated March 29.