More money-saving tips planned

I plan to add a paragraph to my list of food sources about the Harvest Food Co-op in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain.  If you are disabled or on food stamps, you can get a 5% discount there by presenting a membership card.  I believe you can get this discount if you are elderly, too.  On the second Wednesday of each month, members get 10% off.  Added to your 5% discount, this comes to 15%…not bad.  This once-a-month deal is called Member Appreciation Day.  I was there yesterday.

Also, I plan to do a write-up on my adventures porting my landline number to Google Voice.  It went rather smoothly, and I’m extremely pleased with how it all worked out.  I had to learn the ropes, though.  I will include my own tips, and some links.

I will also write up information on how you can get a free cell phone in Massachusetts from Assurance Wireless, run by Virgin (Sprint).  I will try to find the spare applications I have, and post an image here.  I believe you have to be income eligible.  You will get a free phone and 250 minutes free talk time each month.  No rollover.  There is an opportunity to change phones, numbers, and plans, but expect to pay for this.  Assurance Wireless is available in many states.

Are you hungry? New pantry added to list, and additional notes

Hello!  I have more information about pantries available to Watertown residents.  Here is the link to the original page, which contains the complete list

http://juliemadblogger.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/food-watertown-massachusetts/

I’ve added the following to the list:

Newton

Centre Street Food Pantry

Trinity Church 11 Homer St   Newton Center, MA  02459
Hours:
every Tuesday 4PM – 7PM
1st Saturday of each month 11AM – 2PM
Phone: 617-340-9554
Website:   www.CentreStFoodPantry.org
Email:   CentreStFoodPantry@Gmail.com

  • The Centre Street Food Pantry is a source of emergency supply of food. We stock canned goods, juices, toiletries and have fresh items when available to us.
  • Shoppers are able to choose from our shelves the items they can use for their household, within some generous limits.
  • We are located on the lower level of Trinity Church in Newton Center at 11 Homer Street.
  • You can get to us by mass transit:
    • The #52 MBTA bus stops nearby.
    • We are a few blocks from the Newton Center T stop. (Green line “D”)
  • We are open:
    • every Tuesday from 4PM to 7PM, and
    • the first Saturday of each month from 11AM to 2PM.
  • Residents of Newton and surrounding communities are welcome to shop once per month.
  • We do ask that shoppers fill out this form and bring it with them on their first visit.

Intake_Form_USDA_2011.pdf

It should be signed by a person who can attest to their need. (ex. town hall official, clergy, social worker)

********

I also added information about the pantry in Cambridge at the Cambridgeport Baptist Church:

CAMBRIDGEPORT BAPTIST CHURCH -THE HARVEST
459 Putnam Ave. (617) 576-6779; harvest@bostonvineyard.com Hours: First and Third Saturdays of each month 9:15 – 11:30 a.m.  Clothes Closet and children’s Bible Breakfast Club in addition to Food Pantry. Visits are not limited to once a month. Please bring photo I.D. on your first visit.

This is a very well-organized food pantry and clothes closet staffed by regular volunteers and volunteers who come in from charitable organizations.  The person who runs this pantry told me that once a Starbucks store closed for the morning and the employees came to the church to work at the pantry instead.

While you wait, you can help yourself to hot coffee.  They keep replenishing the supply.  It did not run out the whole time I was there.  I did not see decaf coffee or tea.  The day I was there, they had a big cake and gave out pieces of that as well.

The church is located at the intersection of Putnam and Magazine.  Expect to spend a good two hours there.  There is an incredible feeling of camaraderie in the room.  There is quite a wait, so bring a book or knitting or something to do.  Even before doors open, 40 to 80 people will already be there.  Find the person at the desk in the back of the room, and take a number or get your name on the list.  The first time you come, you will fill out a form.  I was not asked for any paperwork or identification.  Then expect a long wait.  The guy will make some announcements.  Another person will give these same announcements in Haitian Creole.  Then wait some more. When your name or number is called, you will pair up with a volunteer who will walk you downstairs.  I do not know if this downstairs room is accessible, but I’m sure there are ways around it if you can’t do the stairs.  The volunteer will help you get whatever food you need.  You can take an item or choose not to take it.  I received a generous amount of fresh apples, carrots, and potatoes.  The canned goods, rice, and pasta, etc are standard pantry items.  If they don’t give out all the perishables, you might be able to get extra if you are still there when they close. The clothes closet is in an adjacent room.  Ask if you want to access it.  Clothes are 25 cents each, coats are a dollar.

The cambridgeport Baptist Church Food Pantry will not be operating June 16, 2012

This church is located at the intersection of Magazine and Putnam, near Central. The next time it will be open will be the first Saturday in July. This pantry is open normally the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Congratulations and a hearty thank you to David, the main organizer of the pantry, who will be stepping down after over five years of service. He is moving on, and among other things, getting married.

The food pantry is open right now, if you want to stop by. Don’t go hungry There are clothes available as well, for a small donation. The pantry is in need of bags that people can use to bring food home in. If you have any to donate, the volunteers would be appreciative. Re-using is the way to go! No need to throw out plastic when it can be used again.

Meditation on Poverty

I just wrote this, and am not sure what to do with it, but here it is.  It came to me in a flash, while lying in my bed, which doubles as a couch.

May 28, Memorial Day, 2012

WHAT POVERTY TEACHES ME: A MEDITATION

Poverty teaches me to make do.

Poverty teaches me that the biggest isn’t the best.  Poverty teaches me that less is more.  Poverty teaches me to think big with my mind.

Poverty teaches me the true meaning of downsizing.  I have learned that it’s easy to get rid of what I don’t want by giving it away.  Poverty teaches me to take pride that I do not need a manicure, pedicure or haircut, nor do I need to adorn my body with jewelry or fancy clothes.  In fact, being poor has taught me that I don’t need new clothes.

Poverty teaches me to laugh and cry when they try to sell me a new TV luxury, such as a satellite dish.  I appreciate the thrill of telling them, “Sorry, no TV.”  When they try to repair a crack in my car’s windshield, I am overjoyed to say, “Sorry, no car.”  Without the car and the TV, I am free.

Poverty teaches me that my little dog is just as needy as I am, and deserves the best.  I cherish this creature. She is sacred.  I need her as much as she needs me.

Poverty teaches me to say, “Yes, thank you,” and also, “No, thank you.”  Mostly, though it teaches me to keep my mouth shut.

Poverty teaches me to accept and love the unwanted, the dented, the scratched, the unbeautiful, and whatever is a little too old, too wrinkled, no longer fashionable, and outdated.

Poverty teaches me to accept and love that which has been cast out by others, that which was used and then tossed aside, and forgotten in the corners of the marketplace.

Poverty teaches me to love the second-hand.  I have learned to hold these things that I have adopted and brought into my household as things dear to my heart, and when I dream, I try to trace their roots.

Poverty teaches me to settle for what others consider second best.  It teaches me to simplify, and embrace what is plain, compact, and practical.

Poverty gives me freedom because material goods give me nothing unless in my mind I am free.

Poverty teaches me to plan ahead, a skill I never had before.  It teaches me to consider priorities and pros and cons, to discern between need and want.

Poverty teaches me to appreciate the government that recognizes that I have a need, but also to question this government, because along with these gifts, I must accept that I will not always be respected.

Because of poverty, I’ve lost friends.  Because of poverty, I’ve gained friends.  God, my inner strength, has always been by my side, even when I have been angry and bitter.

Poverty unleashes my creativity.  How can I get this to last?

In winter, when I struggle in my cold apartment, I love to hear the story of the drop of oil that lasted eight days.  I know that even if I’m poor, though not born in a manger, I can, and will change the world.

Poverty teaches me that there time to think about debt, and a time to set those thoughts aside.  For all my gripes and complaints, the world can truly be a beautiful place, especially now that I have the time, and occasionally, the inclination to sit back and look at it.

I look at the world and I write.  I wring out and extract.  If I am painstaking, what comes out is something money cannot buy.  It is a river of clarity, born of the divine, a glory to behold.

–Julie Greene

Regarding Poverty

First of all, let me say that having to go to food pantries changed the whole way I look at food, survival, and my life as a person with an eating disorder.

I am 54 years old, single and legally disabled.  I am on psychiatric disability.

Last September I spoke with a woman around my age who also suffered from anorexia.  We found that we were surprisingly alike.  She told me she went to food pantries and what the experience was like for her.  She told me how she chose between available foods, and what her reasoning was for these choices.   We had met inside a psychiatric facility and were both being treated for our eating disorders.

When I left the facility, I had a staggering dog boarding bill to pay.   I emptied out my checking account entirely, but this paid for only half the bill.  To date, I still owe a little more to the facility.  Fortunately, I had been a regular there, and of course they love Puzzle, but a bill is a bill is a bill and they have to keep afloat and pay their employees.

So I never really caught up with the bills after that.  For whatever reason, I dipped into my credit card twice for trips to London. The first trip was last November (2011) and I am flying there again in July, 2012.  Both of these trips were to meet with my publisher and other writers around the world with dreams like mine.  I took the plunge because as a writer, I want to change the world, talk about mental illness and eating disorders, and make all our lives better.  Anyway, I’m in the hole.  I might be lucky enough to find someone to have Puzzle in their home while I’m away in July, just keeping my fingers crossed, otherwise I’m further into the hole.

My life is unpredictable because of my eating disorder.  One of my big fears all along has been that I’ll be locked up again, meaning another boarding bill.  This has been a major factor in decisions over the past couple of years whether to go inpatient.  It’s kind of hard to explain to a doctor, “But you can’t section me!  I’ve got a dog home alone!”  Hell, what if I had kids home alone?  It’s quite similar in that we’ve got creatures or people we’re responsible for and can’t just go skipping off to a psych ward to be held for god knows how long.  We have to take into account that getting shipped off to Grandma or to a neighbor or to a children’s shelter situation such as temporary foster care on a moment’s notice is going to seriously wreak havoc on the kids’ lives, let alone give society the message that parents who get locked up, for whatever reason, are unfit.  In the case of Puzzle, I’m fortunate that she is well acquainted with her boarding place, loves it there, and knows what to expect once she gets there.

So again in February, I ended up inpatient, and at the same time, stuff with my family got complicated due to my mother’s waning health.  My brothers have been hostile to me and this situation with them seems endless.  I think it was a few months ago that my brother said he’d done some financial wiggling around, and he offered me some money without specifying an amount.  I hadn’t told him that I needed money, he just offered it out of the blue.  I declined, saying I thought I’d be able to stay on top of the bills and gradually pay them off.  Well, I’m not.  In the month of May I was able to put into my credit card a decent amount, but it got swallowed up by regular expenditures such as phone and Internet.  There’s a cost on there for $40 repeating for six months for an online course I’m not even well enough to participate in, but I have all the materials, so I can do the course in the future.  Still, I’m mad at myself for signing up cuz I sure could use an extra $40 a month.  It’ll only be a few more months, anyway.  Other than that, I pay $10 for a book about once a month on Amazon or whatever if I feel it’s important to have that book and I can’t get it at the library.  If a book is going to help me with my eating, it’s worth it. Anyway, next month I’m not going to be lowering the bills.  They will go up.  My trip in July is paid for…we’ll see about Puzzle’s boarding…but in July Puzzle needs to go to the vet for vaccinations.  It’s endless.

What have I learned?  How to survive like never before.  I cut out everything.  I looked at things as scientifically as I could, trying to eliminate as much as possible.  The obvious stuff was the following:

Membership in the online service E-music got cut immediately.
I stopped going to coffee shops and buying coffee there, ever.
I stopped going to any restaurant or place that sold prepared food.  All prepared food is expensive and you can’t use food stamps to pay for it, let alone tip a food server.  The only disadvantage to this is that if I need to use a bathroom at a restaurant, I can’t without buying their food.  I don’t buy their food, so I have to plan for no restroom while I’m out.

I found myself unable to stop bingeing.  If you have an eating disorder and have been through binge eating, you know how expensive it can be.  Don’t ask me how I did it, but I was able to stop buying first of all anything I had to pay cash for and couldn’t use food stamps.  Dunkin Donuts, for instance, is out of the question, ever.  I ended up cutting out all prepared foods, such as cookies and cakes.  I cut out sugar, because all that sweet stuff was too expensive.  It’s down to bingeing on oatmeal and other quick-cooking grains, pasta, and cans of soup and stuff.  Now and then I buy something like a large tub of generic brand ice cream for maybe $2.50 and wolf that down along with everything else, but not often.  I wish to hell this would stop, but it isn’t.  Not yet.

As to how my eating disorder is otherwise ruining my life, read the rest of my blog.

Anyway, in addition to cutting everything I could, I started going to food pantries.  The many experiences I’ve had at these places have been rather moving for me.  When I’ve come home, I feel like writing about the experience of having gone there, the people I saw, and what went on in my head while I was getting the food.

Everyone goes to a food pantry for a different reason.  You can’t judge and say that this one has more mouths to feed and this one doesn’t, or call a person greedy because they want more than what they’re getting.

Here’s a scenario I invented, that very well could have taken place:

A woman around my age, or maybe older, shows up at the local food pantry and is delighted to find that there is a bag of chopped walnuts sitting there ready for her to take home.  She ends up getting hassled for taking the nuts.  She argues that she needs them for a recipe, but to no avail.  You can live without walnuts, she is told.  You are only allowed one thing from this shelf.  You are taking too much.

She has grandkids.  The grandkids have another grandma.  The other grandma takes the kids to bakeries and ice cream stores.  The other grandma serves luscious fruit salad, tahini and pita bread and salmon and tofu, not macaroni and cheese out of a box.  But our lady hasn’t got the money to take the grandkids anywhere.

It completely sucks cuz the middle generation is very busy telling the kids that one grandma is better than the other because she has more material goods to offer.  The macaroni and cheese that our lady has comes from the supermarket at 88 cents a box, or from a food pantry.  It’s very, very easy to get the kids turned against you.  Our lady feels like shit and her own grandkids call her names, baiting her and telling her that they love the other grandma more.  Yep, kids are cruel, and yep, this happens.

So our lady decides to do something.  She’s lucky enough to get a good brownie mix at the supermarket for 25 cents because the box is dented.  But if she makes these brownies, the middle generation is just going to put her down and tell her they’re from a cheap mix, can’t she do better?  That’s where the nuts come in.  The little special touch that means she’s not going to put up with this shit any longer.

I know what the storybooks say, that a hug means more than brownies with real nuts.  But these are the same storybooks that tell you everyone lives happily ever after.  It doesn’t pan out the way it’s supposed to.  Hardly ever.

To further this scenario, years later our lady ends up severely depressed because she is unwanted, isolated, and neglected.  The middle generation keeps the kids away from her, saying they don’t want the kids poisoned with her negative crap.  She sees them less and less, and when she does, it’s always tough because she’s torn between being honest and being a phony just to keep them from disowning her entirely.  She acts sweet and kind, like everything’s fine, and in doing so, feels like crap.

I guess you could say I’m in the same boat in terms of phoniness.  I am always torn as to whether to act sweet and kind and say I’m doing okay, which is more likely to keep my friends from running away, or tell the truth, risking the end of a relationship.  The storybooks tell you that folks come running to your side when you’re in pain, that everyone loves everyone else, if you’re down and troubled and need a helping hand just call my name and soon I’ll be there is a bunch of bullshit even if Carole King and James Taylor sang and sang and promised that it was true back when I was a kid.  It’s funny how one song can set a standard for what friendship should ideally be.  We used to sing that song with our guitars and long hair and hold hands and stuff and promise we’d write letters.  It turned out that these letters that never got mailed or even written, and to this day, the flowery stationary remains unused.

So I walk around on eggshells with people just to keep them from shutting me out entirely.  Guess it’s better to have a phony relationship than to have no relationship, but I’m not really sure about that.  I could get a TV at a tag sale, watch it for a few hours a day and learn about movie stars and then maybe I’d have something to talk about that my friends could relate to.  I don’t want to spend even five bucks on a TV just to learn how to be boring.  I don’t even want to buy eggs so that I can have eggshells to walk on.  If I have eggshells, I certainly won’t waste them that way, but grind them up to use as a calcium supplement for Puzzle.

Which brings me to the dog food issue.  I never told anyone why I switched Puzzle from dry kibble to real food, or even that I had even done this.  It was part of the whole poverty transformation I went through.  Like I said, I have an eating disorder that will stop at nothing.  I binged on the freaking dog kibble all time.  It was like a knife in my side that I couldn’t take out.  The stuff was gross beyond belief.  I boiled it in a little water, then shoved it into my mouth. Sometimes, I’d add seasoning so it would go down faster.  To stop bingeing at all, I had to get the kibble out of the house.

I figured that canned dog food was grosser than kibble and no way would I eat it, so I switched Puzzle to canned.  The price is staggering for this shit.  Feeding her would cost maybe $90 a month at $3 a can.  I looked for cheaper stuff and found some.

Then, I don’t know what got into me.  I was in the supermarket, totally mesmerized by the presence of the fancy colorful food packages, wandering around like a dazed idiot when I ended up in the dog food aisle and bought three cans of…I really don’t want to admit this…Alpo.  No, I didn’t think I’d go so low as to eat this stuff myself.

It broke my heart.

Three days later it was clear that although Puzzle is the hearty sort, no way could she tolerate Alpo.  Let’s just say her stools told everything.

They tell us folks who have eating disorders that we should learn to stop reading labels.  Huh?  What I learned from reading the label of Alpo Chop House Original Flavor Cooked in Savory Juices changed my life.  I have the can right here.

Water sufficient for processing, meat by-products, chicken, beef, soy flour, brewer’s rice, added color…

Huh?  Added color?  For a dog who supposedly can’t see in color?  Further down the label is says, “Red 3.”

…which explained the red stools, of course.  I told myself no way.  I wanted to wrench my heart out of my chest.  In my mind, I fell to my knees.  I wept, and begged the world for forgiveness.

I guess that was about a month ago.  I’ve fed Puzzle real food ever since.  I got rather obsessed with doggie recipe books and doggie nutrition and getting it just right, but I think we’ve got it down now.   Feeding her is still cheap, because she’s such a tiny dog.  Now and then I spend a whole bunch of time making the tastiest batch of dog food you can imagine.  It is an act of love.  Just another lesson that poverty, and my eating disorder, taught me.

I’m not saying that poverty exists to teach a lesson to the poor.  Poverty teaches everyone.  There is no such thing as deserving to be poor because you were bad, or deserving to be rich because you worked hard.  There is no such thing as “deserved.”

Winning the lottery can ruin a person.  It leads to further gambling, drugs, casinos, drinking, and misery in some cases.  You can give away the money to a good cause, but you’ve still got your feelings to deal with and all the guilt of having received something we’re programmed to believe we don’t deserve, having not worked a forty-hour work week to get it.

Needless to say, I’m grateful for what I learned, and continue to learn.  Yep, I’m in debt, but the numbers on the credit card bill are only numbers.  They don’t cause disease or break bones.  I’ve learned to put these figures out of my head unless I’m doing some budget planning, then I shelve all of the numbers and put the issue to rest.

The other day, some tape recording called me telling me, “Press One to lower your interest rate.”  For the heck of it, I did. A person got on the line, a woman, who asked, “How much debt do you have?”

I said, “I really don’t care to discuss the exact amount over the phone without knowing who you are.  Can you tell me about your program?”

But already, before I even finished this last sentence, there had been a click on the line.  The phone was dead.  Hmm.

When I go to a food pantry, I’ve got my agenda just like everyone else.  No, I’m not trying to be a cool grandma cuz I have no grandkids and no family.  I have an eating disorder.  I’m scared to death of food.  It’s hard enough to get out of the house to begin with, with all the ordeals I go through regarding what to wear, changing clothes over and over because I think I look “fat.” I can recall times that I couldn’t get to the food pantry cuz I was so scared that someone would look at me and think I was a fat pig if I did so much as walk out the door and trudge over to the mailbox down the hall.  But hey, I’d get out sometimes, so long as I was covered in just the right jacket to hide whatever shape my body was at at the time.

It’s called survival.

It gets very scary when I go there, but I now know what to expect.  I pressure myself like you wouldn’t believe to make the right choices.  Scared of this, scared of that, scared to be seen reading a label (though many do), scared to pick something up, then change my mind and be seen putting it back again.  Carefully calculating sizes of containers, and scared to get too much.

For instance, applesauce.  They say you can have a bunch of four-ounce containers (here I remind myself it’s 40 calories if it doesn’t have additives) or one large container.  I get one tiny container and leave it at that.  Why?  I’m scared if I bring home more, I’ll eat it, and I don’t want the calories.

Beans.  Dried, or canned?  Well, duh, dried is the way to go.  I’m scared that as soon as I open a can of canned beans, it’ll all go down the hatch and I won’t be able to stop myself.

Oatmeal.  Sometimes, I give a little to Puzzle.   But it’s fatal to acquire a large container of oatmeal cuz yep, it’ll be gone in a few hours and next thing you know, I’m on a three-day binge.  So when they have those little envelopes and I can get one that’s just plain oats with no sugar, that’s what I get.  One envelope.

One day, I was overjoyed to get a tube of toothpaste.  That shit is expensive.

So I lug this stuff home, knowing that it’s rather obvious where I’ve been.  I see a handful of my neighbors lugging their groceries home from the food pantry, across the street from me walking in the same direction, toward our subsidized housing building.  I try to sneak in the back door and quickly inside if I can sneak through the dining room.  This means no one can be in there.  I mean, surely some former neighbor, these folks that were constantly harping on how thin I’d become only months ago, have a few words to say about my current body state.  The community meals happen in that dining room, and my former neighbors show up for that meal daily.  I work my ass off trying to avoid them, avoid being seen by them, avoid the rude comments.

But last Tuesday, coming home from the food pantry, I found that the dining room was empty.  I cut through, climbed the back stairs, and slipped through a short bit of hall to my front door, unseen.  All the cans and stuff and even meat for Puzzle I laid out on the counter.

I even got herbal tea this time.  Lemon Zinger.  Memories of Celestial Seasonings back in the 70’s.  Pelican Punch.  Roastaroma.  Red Zinger.  Morning Thunder.  Back in the days when they weren’t adding “natural flavoring” to the stuff, when it was all herbs.

I remembered sitting with roommates sipping Lemon Zinger, the latest thing, kinda like Red Zinger, isn’t it?

Yeah, how’s the zing?

Dunno, I’m too stoned.

It’s still a treat.  I rarely drink coffee anymore.  That, too, is just a very special treat.  Less is more, trust me.

When you learn that less is more, a whole world opens up to you.  The biggest car isn’t always the best in the lot. The biggest house doesn’t necessarily have more love in it than the smallest house on the block.  The most expensive education isn’t necessarily the best one for your kid.  And so on.

When you learn that less is more, it can change your life.  It changed mine.

USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines for School Lunch Programs and other programs – beginning July 1, 2012 until June 30, 2013

I found this chart in my travels:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-23/pdf/2012-7036.pdf

I tried to post the chart itself, and got it to fit inside this post, but when I tried to publish the post it went “poof!”   The link brings you to a three-page government document of the Federal Register.  The chart is on page three, so scroll down.

These guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program (and Commodity School Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. The annual adjustments are required by section 9 of the National School Lunch Act.

The Department announces adjusted income eligibility guidelines to be used by State agencies in determining the income eligibility of persons applying to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and
Children Program (WIC). These income eligibility guidelines are to be used in conjunction with the WIC Regulations.

NOTE: I am a single woman 54 years old without children who is legally disabled.  My income falls just under $10,000.  This month (May 2012) I went to apply to receive goods at a food pantry in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was told that I could get food if my income was under $20,000.  There was a chart on the form I filled out showing eligibility.  I will try to find this chart, and post it here.  The chart may or may not apply to other areas of the country.  The Boston area is a comparatively expensive place to live.

Don’t go hungry.

UPDATE: I was unable to find the chart mentioned above because it was only recently, in March 2012, that the government required states to have a uniform income eligibility requirement to receive food at food pantries, specifically US Commodity food that is distributed via central food banks.  I’ve got some more links to share in upcoming posts.

Are you hungry? Food pantries, cheap food, and meals available to residents of Watertown, Massachusetts

 

Are you hungry?  Food available to Watertown, Massachusetts residents

I have compiled this document May 26, 2012 and will attempt to keep it updated. My latest update is September 4, 2012.  I will make a link so that this page can be easily found, or place this information on another site and link to it.  There are more resources than are listed here.  As I verify them, I will add them.

I have added my own commentary and am trying to be as helpful and informative as I can.

As of this date, I have not yet compiled a list of food resources for children. This will come.

Please do not go hungry.  Folks at these places are very kind and understanding.  Never let anyone tell you that you are less of a person for being low income, elderly, or disabled.  In life, there are times that you give and times that you receive.  If you have the opportunity to assist someone in need, you are blessed.

 

 

Note: Watertown offers senior services to folks 60 and over.  Federal programs consider a person a senior at 65.

 

Food stamps

From the Watertown town website, senior section:
The Massachusetts Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been streamlined for seniors. Even if you’ve never applied for assistance, own your home and car, or have been ineligible in the past, here are some reasons to consider applying for SNAP:
·         During these difficult economic times, even a modest monthly SNAP benefit can help to offset some of your household expenses.
·         Using SNAP benefits is completely confidential. SNAP recipients use a card which works just like a debit card.
·         The application for seniors is shorter (only two pages) and less verifications are required.
·         If you spend more than $35 per month on medical expenses including medications and doctor’s visits, you may qualify for a $90 standard deduction. This deduction could result in a higher monthly SNAP benefit.

To apply, please call toll free: 1-866-950-FOOD (3663) Once you have applied, you will find out in 30 days whether you are eligible for SNAP.

Congregate Lunch Program

Springwell administers the federally funded Congregate Lunch Program. A $1.75 donation is requested.
Call  617-923-2769 one day in advance between 9:00 am and 10:30 am, Monday – Friday to reserve.
Call by 12:30 pm on Thursday for a weekend reservation.

Location: Woodland Towers
55 Waverley Ave., community room, wheelchair accessible with wheelchair accessible bathroom in the community room.  Some people like to play bingo afterward on certain days.

Monday – Friday at 11:30 am
Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 pm
Any senior can participate in this program, as well as anyone unable to prepare meals for themselves and can get a note from a dietician, doctor, nurse, etc.  If you are unable to get to the meal site, you will also need a note stating this if you need Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels

This is a federally funded program administered by Springwell for homebound elders and hospital discharges who find it difficult to prepare meals. A hot meal is delivered Monday through Friday. Frozen meals for weekends, and accommodations for special diet requirements are available. A $1.75 donation is requested. Please call (617) 972-4100 for more information.

 

Food pantries in Watertown, Massachusetts:

Watertown Food Pantry
I have shown up on the early side here.  There are chairs available to sit in while you wait.  When you get there, go to the table and take a little card with a number.  Hang onto this little card.  When your number is called, give the number to the guy (he’s very, very nice and introduces himself by name but I forget what his name is) and he will ask you some questions.  Then you go sit down and wait till your number is called again.  Meanwhile, you can collect two food items from a cart off to the right, and unlimited items from a long table on the left.  You never know what you will find here.  Behind the registration table there always seem to be bags of legumes available, just ask.  The volunteers will bring out a shopping basket with bags of food.  Toilet paper and Ivory soap is included if you need it.  I have been to this food pantry many times and was never told to “hurry up” the way I have been at other food pantries.

The Council on Aging administers the Watertown Food Pantry, which provides food assistance to any resident in need. The Pantry is located at:
St. John’s Church
80 Mt. Auburn St.
Watertown, MA 02472
Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Thursdays, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

A parking lot is available.  Easiest way to enter (which I believe is accessible and there are no stairs between the pantry and the parking lot) is via the corner of the parking lot, which leads to a small door.  On your first visit, bring identification including proof of address (rent or utility receipt.) A five-day supply of food is available each month, as well as information about other food pantries in the area. For more information or to make a donation, call (617) 972-6429.  After your first visit, no ID is necessary, just state your name and place of residence.  They will give you a sheet with resources and contact numbers, but the sheet I received hadn’t been updated in a while, and some numbers no longer functioned.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Pantry – Watertown residents can access this food pantry twice a month
St. Patrick’s Church
26R Chestnut St.
Watertown MA, 02472
Ph: (617) 926-7121

St. Paul’s Church is the big Catholic church on the Newton side of Main Street a few bus stops from the square, the  “Chestnut Street” stop on the 70 line.  The pantry is in the rectory further down the side street on the left.  A parking lot is available.  Look for a sign for the entrance.  This entrance is not wheelchair accessible, but I’m sure the building has other entrances that are accessible.

Until they open, there is only a small space where visitors can wait, with no chairs to sit.  This waiting space is very small, and I imagine that in winter, people have to stand outside in the cold.  If you arrive on the dot of 10 you can go in right away and have access to the best selection.  They give you a basket, which you take around the room with you and fill with what’s on the shelves.  There are instructions telling you how many of each item you can take.  There is a wide variety and you never know what will show up.  I have been allowed one item out of the refrigerator and one out of the freezer.  Once, I was able to get fresh ripe bananas and oranges.  “Dented and slightly out of date” canned food is available and you are free to take as much of these cans as you’d like.  It is not difficult to find food labeled “organic.”  Non-food items such as toiletries are available, and you are allowed one of these items per visit.  I should also add that this food pantry doesn’t seem to be need-based, because all visitors, regardless of family size, are allowed the same amount.  I think this is one reason why it can seem rather competitive there, and folks often take more than is allowed.  When you are done, bring the filled basket to the desk.  The volunteers will go over what you’ve chosen and make sure you haven’t taken more than is allowed.  When they’ve gone through my stuff, they always inform me of more food that is available there if I need it.

On first visit you need to provide proof of Watertown residency and proof of income.  When you come in the future, you do not need a photo ID.  You just tell them your name and verify your address.

Food Pantries in Cambridge that Watertown residents can use:

Here is a link to services in Cambridge.  Many are not available to folks that do not live in Cambridge.  Please call to verify as this list is dated 12/2/10; http://www.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/MealsPantries.pdf

 

CAMBRIDGEPORT BAPTIST CHURCH -THE HARVEST
459 Putnam Ave. (617) 576-6779; harvest@bostonvineyard.com Hours: First and Third Saturdays of each month 9:15 – 11:30 a.m.  Clothes Closet and children’s Bible Breakfast Club in addition to Food Pantry. Visits are not limited to once a month. Please bring photo I.D. on your first visit.

This is a very well-organized food pantry and clothes closet staffed by regular volunteers and volunteers who come in from charitable organizations.  The person who runs this pantry told me that once a Starbucks store closed for the morning and the employees came to the church to work at the pantry instead.

While you wait, you can help yourself to hot coffee.  They keep replenishing the supply.  It did not run out the whole time I was there.  I did not see decaf coffee or tea.  The day I was there, they had a big cake and gave out pieces of that as well.

The church is located at the intersection of Putnam and Magazine.  Expect to spend a good two hours there.  There is an incredible feeling of camaraderie in the room.  There is quite a wait, so bring a book or knitting or something to do.  Even before doors open, 40 to 80 people will already be there.  Find the person at the desk in the back of the room, and take a number or get your name on the list.  The first time you come, you will fill out a form.  I was not asked for any paperwork or identification.  Then expect a long wait.  The guy will make some announcements.  Another person will give these same announcements in Haitian Creole.  Then wait some more. When your name or number is called, you will pair up with a volunteer who will walk you downstairs.  I do not know if this downstairs room is accessible, but I’m sure there are ways around it if you can’t do the stairs.  The volunteer will help you get whatever food you need.  You can take an item or choose not to take it.  I received a generous amount of fresh apples, carrots, and potatoes.  The canned goods, rice, and pasta, etc are standard pantry items.  If they don’t give out all the perishables, you might be able to get extra if you are still there when they close. The clothes closet is in an adjacent room.  Ask if you want to access it.  Clothes are 25 cents each, coats are a dollar.

MARGARET FULLER NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE FOOD PANTRY –near Central Square. Cherry Street is off Main Street.  The sidewalks on these side streets are poorly maintained and not wheelchair accessible.  When you arrive at Margaret Fuller House, go to the left of the building, then go in the back.  The entrance is not wheelchair accessible. I imagine that they would gladly be very helpful if you cannot use this entryway, and bring the food out to you.  I saw signs in Haitian Creole, and I assume that if you prefer assistance in this language rather than English, someone will be able to assist you.

When you arrive, take a number from the desk.  The volunteers at the desk seem very friendly and helpful.  This is a busy place.  When you go into the inner area, your food will be waiting for you on a counter.  There are chairs available to sit, but the room is small and crowded, and lines go out the door.  They will give you the amount relative to your family size.  You do not choose any of the food, but what you don’t want, just leave on the counter.  There are large boxes available to put your food in so that you can bring it home, but I imagine that these could run out if you arrive late. Best to bring your own bags.  They give you an abundance of canned legumes and other canned food.  The time I went, they were generous with the frozen meat, but it is very poor quality ground turkey.  I went once, on a Saturday.
Here’s the address:
71 Cherry St. (617) 547-4680 They answer their phone.
Hours: Wednesdays 5:00-7:00 p.m..  Thursdays 1pm – 4pm. Fridays 5pm-7pm.  Saturdays 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Serves residents of Middlesex County. First-time visitors need to bring:

  • Valid photo ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of residence (such as a utility bill)
  • Proof of income (proof of assistance from DPA, MassHealth, Section 8, WIC, etc. is acceptable)
  • Proof of family size (birth certificates/ss cards for children, letter from social worker, clergy, etc.)

I was given an ID card with a number on it to keep, and told that I can visit twice in a calendar month.

MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH – Project Manna – not verified.  Left message Friday 6/1. I do not know if this pantry is still in operation.  Inman Square
146 Hampshire St. 617-868-4853
Hours: Usually Fourth Saturday of the month opening at 8:00 a.m. Earliness is encouraged.

HELPING HAND PANTRY – If you call here you will get a recording with information.  I left a message and asked if this food pantry was available to Watertown residents, waiting for a reply. Left 2nd mssg 6/1
Here’s where to find it:
362 Rindge Ave. Fresh Pond Apartments.  Google maps lists these apartments at 364 Rindge Ave, not 362, so perhaps this is a side entrance.  Google maps also says this is a six-minute walk from Alewife Station.  From Alewife Access Road, turn L on Cambridgepark Drive.  Cambridgepark Drive is divided by a grassy or concrete area between lanes.  I do not know if it is possible to cross over, as there may be some kind of divider.  You have to cross Alewife Brook Parkway according to the map, but I don’t know if it’s in fact possible to cross over or if there is a pedestrian or stop light.  The map suggests turning right off of Cambridgepark before crossing the Parkway, and to cross at the intersection of with Rindge.  A good landmark to look for is a small pond.  These apartments are right next to this pond.  An alternate route, perhaps wiser, is to take the 83 bus out of Central, and get off at Rindge Ave @ Russell Field, but this bus runs only once every half hour, slightly more often at rush hour.  Note that in the recorded message, the street name sounds like “Wrench,” but it is in fact “Rindge.”  (There is no Wrench Ave listed in Cambridge.) 617-876-4381; helpinghand@stjames-cambridge.org
Hours: Tuesday 4:00-6:00 p.m.; Thursday 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Please bring picture I.D. and bags if you have them. Income must fall within USDA guidelines. Once a month only

ST. PAUL R.C. CHURCH -DOLLAR-A-BAG

No papers needed – they say they are a “small food pantry” and they also said that “anyone who is alive who walks in there with bags can get up to two bags of food, a dollar for each bag “(see below).  It is run by the church, and most likely they rely heavily on donations.  This may mean that an occasional surprise donation of something really yummy might show up.  I have yet to visit this place.
Here’s the address:
29 Mt. Auburn St. (617) 491-8400 – very close to Harvard Square
Hours: Saturday 11:00 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.
Anyone may buy two bags of groceries for $1.00 each: one of vegetables, fruits, and assorted items & one of bread. Limit is two bags per visit; there is not a monthly limit on visits.  Bring two bags.

I visited this food pantry Saturday September 1, 2012.

This pantry is open to everyone no matter where you live.  There is no income requirement and you can be homeless and you can be any age and you can be a veteran or not a veteran and any race or religion or gender or nationality or age.  I believe they want one person per household to pick up the groceries.  So, you know, common sense. And they probably want an adult to show up.  This is the only food pantry I’ve been to in the area that charges money, that is, a dollar per bag.  You bring your own bag.   They do have bags but bringing your own is encouraged (and environmentally a good idea, too!).  The limit is two bags per household. You can come every week.  They will give you one bag of bread-type stuff and one bag of “other” type stuff including fresh veggies and even fresh cooked meat.

This food pantry is located at St. Paul’s Church on Mount Auburn Street in the heart of Harvard Square.  The pantry happens every Saturday at 11 until 11:30, but I found their doors open earlier and it’s a good idea to be there by 11 the latest because I believe it’s all over by 11:30.  The pantry is at number 29.  You sort of go through a back door right off the street.  I found this door open.  There were a bunch of stairs.  I’ll bet there’s a wheelchair entrance somewhere, but not at 29 Mount Auburn Street.  Now 29 Mount Auburn Street is not on the #71 route.  This is the area of Mount Auburn Street past where the bus route ends, past the square.

As soon as you get into the room, find where the “numbers” are given out. These are little tickets.  The “numbers” are the last two digits on your ticket.  Listen carefully.  A guy (or someone) will announce your number.  When I was there on Saturday, the guy announcing numbers did so loudly and clearly.   While waiting for your number to be announced, go sit down with your bags.  You’ll see where to sit.  A bunch of other folks will be sitting in seats.  Relax.

When you hear your number, go up to this guy and give him your ticket.  He will tell you where to go and how to proceed.

Now once you get into the food distribution area, there’s sort of a raised platform area where you’ll see tables where food is laid out.  What they want you to do is to go around the table and pick up the food that’s there and put it in the bag that you brought.  The problem is here that if you are in a wheelchair (and have managed to get into the church via a wheelchair entrance…I assume, like I said, that there is one, but then again you can never assume) there is this step in the middle here, so I’m wondering about accessibility.  Of course there are a lot of volunteers at this pantry who are more than willing to help someone…just ask, and ask any questions that you have about allergies, etc.  They have all kinds of breads donated from bakeries all over, including Whole Foods.

The day I was there, there was not too much food.  They were not charging money at all.  They said their truck had not arrived and that this was highly unusual.  But I was totally impressed with this whole chicken they were giving everyone.  This was a hot, just-out-of-the oven chicken, fully wrapped, like those kind you can pick up ready-to-eat at the supermarket, the kind that food stamps sometimes pay for and sometimes don’t.  I wish I’d asked if the church folks themselves cooked these chickens.  They were very small chickens but maybe enough to feed a good meal to four people at least, just a guess. And tasty, too.

There is an inner pantry area of donated food.  Here is my suggestion for this pantry area.  It’s all staples.  If I recall correctly, you get two selections from in here.  You do not get to look around.  Go in there with something in mind.  Have it written down.  Have a third and fourth choice.  So have your list of four items.   First choice, second choice, third choice, fourth choice.  They don’t want you to dawdle.  Think ahead and think of what you need most.

This is a small operation, but the pantry has been around a while, and will be around for a while to come.  Thank you, St. Paul’s, for feeding hungry people.

 

WESTERN AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH – not verified, I do not know if this pantry is still in operation.
299 Western Ave. (617) 661-0433    Left message 6/1.
Hours: Second Wednesday of each month 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Food pantries in Waltham, MA that Watertown Residents can access

 

Sacred Heart Church Food Pantry/Waltham (http://sacredheart311.com/)

311 River Street, Waltham, MA 02453

781-899-0469 Thurs 4-5

You will need a photo ID and a bill as proof of residency.  The listed addresses must match.  Line up on Clark St. and wait to be let in. I have not been to this food pantry yet.   From an e-mail: The requirements for eligibility are anyone needing food. You decide the rest. We have people with full time jobs that cant make ends meet to senior citizens who have to choose between eating and buying medicine to people with kids who just need help. The only requirement is a valid form of identification. We ensure that there are not two people from the same address taking food.

 

Hours for distribution are Thursdays from 4-5 PM. the first 100 people get a bag consisting of 10 items (when available). Sometimes peanut butter is given out so if there are food alllergies, please let the people know. We get donations of bread and other things that are given as well.

 

sacredheart311foodpantry@gmail.com Contact: Larry.

 

Salvation Army/Waltham Meals (http://www.use.salvationarmy.org/__80256E7000504C60.NSF/CE952DEA4507EE7780256CF4005D2254/05C532746CC09D6C80256E99001521E7?OpenDocument)

Opened Monday – Friday 10-1.

Every month we service Waltham area residents a 5-day supply of food.  We service approximately 275 cases (500 persons) a month. Clients are asked to use our pantry only one time a month unless there is an emergency.

33 Myrtle Street, Waltham, MA 02453 bring photo ID, proof of income and other family members, lease, rent receipt.

781-894-0413

 

THE FOOD PANTRY AND SOUP KITCHEN – operated by the Immanuel United Methodist Church at 545 Moody St. is open Wednesday 9 to 11 a.m. Food donations accepted at the church entrance at the corner of Moody and Cherry streets from 2 to 6 p.m. Operated from the Methodist Church, 545 Moody St. under the direction of Dick Rogers of Middlesex Human Services. Rogers may be reached at
781-883-2050.  Apparently no papers are required. This is a food pantry operated by one person, according to the person with whom I spoke.  The pantry relies on donated food, probably a good sign since you will not be limited to “commodity” foods.

Bristol Lodge, a shelter, operates their soup kitchen at this church.  Here’s the info on Bristol Lodge:

 

MHSA/Bristol Lodge Meals (http://www.mhsainc.org/soup.htm)

545 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453

781-899-2099,  I have not tried this number.

 

 

The Red Cross Food Pantry in Waltham, also called Collins Family Food Pantry is no longer in operation.  However, the Red Cross pantry in Boston on Mass Ave is in operation.

Boston

The Boston food pantry (Red Cross) provides a 3-day emergency supply of food once a month to approximately 4,500 low-income clients per month, making it the largest emergency food pantry in the city of Boston.

The pantry is open for clients on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:00 to 12:00 and requires verification of low-income status to eligible for assistance. The income guidelines are the same as the other pantries

Family of one $19,240

Family of two $25,900

Family of three $32,560

Family of four $39,220

Add $6,660 for each additional family member.
Bring a photo ID for yourself and ID’s for all other family members such as a medical card.

It is located at the address below.

The American Red Cross Food Program

1033 Massachusetts Avenue

Boston, MA 02118
This food pantry is locate across from  the Welfare office.  The entrance is on Proctor Street.

 

Further options are available to seniors.  Call the Watertown Council on Aging, 617-972-6490, 31 Marshall Street, for more information.

Newton

Centre Street Food Pantry

Trinity Church 11 Homer St   Newton Center, MA  02459
Hours:
every Tuesday 4PM – 7PM
1st Saturday of each month 11AM – 2PM
Phone: 617-340-9554
Website:   www.CentreStFoodPantry.org
Email:   CentreStFoodPantry@Gmail.com

  • The Centre Street Food Pantry is a source of emergency supply of food. We stock canned goods, juices, toiletries and have fresh items when available to us.
  • Shoppers are able to choose from our shelves the items they can use for their household, within some generous limits.
  • We are located on the lower level of Trinity Church in Newton Center at 11 Homer Street.
  • You can get to us by mass transit:
    • The #52 MBTA bus stops nearby.
    • We are a few blocks from the Newton Center T stop. (Green line “D”)
  • We are open:
    • every Tuesday from 4PM to 7PM, and
    • the first Saturday of each month from 11AM to 2PM.
  • Residents of Newton and surrounding communities are welcome to shop once per month.
  • We do ask that shoppers fill out this form and bring it with them on their first visit.

Intake_Form_USDA_2011.pdf

It should be signed by a person who can attest to their need. (ex. town hall official, clergy, social worker)

 

 

 


Can’t get to the grocery store?

 

Delivery of Kosher Groceries

 

J.F. & C.S. Family Table (Jewish Family Services)

They will deliver Kosher groceries to you once a month, and also offer many other services
1430 Main Street, Waltham, MA 02451
781-693-5649
Contact: Margie Nessen, family food coordinator
Shopping Bus
The Watertown Senior Shuttle provides transportation for shopping to Watertown seniors 60 years of age and older. The bus makes trips over specified routes throughout Watertown. The bus goes to the Stop & Shop on Tuesdays and to the Super Stop & Shop on Pleasant Street on Fridays. We request a small donation.
I believe this van is also available to all residents of senior housing, and also disabled individuals in the community.  Ask.

My note: The shopping bus frequently breaks down, or is canceled.  It is almost always canceled when it snows. Often, they cancel because they can’t find a driver.  I would not suggest relying solely on this van.  Also, the ride itself if very bumpy and uncomfortable.  Expect to sit in close proximity to others.  Also, expect others to peer into your grocery bag and make nosy comments. The driver is very, very helpful.

Note: the Stop & Shop on Watertown Street has a “dented can” section in the back of the store near the meat section.  I’m guessing that other supermarkets have such sections as well.  You never know what you will find there for dirt cheap.  When you get to the cash register, make sure the cashier charges you the correct discounted amount.

Project Bread FoodSource Hotline
Call the Hotline at (800) 645-8333 or go to their website: gettingfoodstamps.org for information about free or low cost food resources, and to receive an application for the Food Stamp program mentioned previously.  I haven’t called this number and I do not know if they keep their information up to date.

 

Soup Kitchens in Cambridge

The following is the most comprehensive list I could find, but I suspect that it may be out of date.  I have added to the list whatever information I could find about each program.  I have not been able to find recently updated listings anywhere.

Again, here is an additional link to services in Cambridge.  Please call to verify as this list is dated 12/2/10; http://www.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/MealsPantries.pdf

Project Manna
Massachusetts Avenue Baptist Church, served at 146 Hampshire St. 6:00 p.m., Monday and Friday evenings.  I suspect this program no longer exists.  The link provided on the list did not work, and I heard nothing about this on the church’s recorded outgoing message.

Faith Kitchen  This link works.
Served at Faith Lutheran Church, 311 Broadway; Second and last Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m.  The above link works and I am certain that this soup kitchen  is in operation.  You can check out the menus on this site as well.  Here’s the URL:  http://faithkitchen.org/ very informative site.

Tuesday Meals
Served at First Parish U.U. Church, 3 Church St., Cambridge, Harvard Square. Tuesday 5:30-7:00  Here’s the info I got off the church’s site.  I know that this kitchen is in operation because it has been mentioned at my own church in  Watertown.
Tuesday Meals

The mission of the Tuesday Meals Program is to offer warm hospitality and an evening meal in a safe, dignified environment to anyone in need of nourishment.

We invite any and all with a heart for service to join us in this work.

To schedule a date to volunteer with us at our evening dinner service, simply click the button below and follow the directions:

On your first night of volunteering, please arrive at the church by 5:00 p.m. for an orientation to the program and its policies.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Tuesday Meals Program, our online scheduling system, or about daytime volunteer opportunities, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Thomas Hathaway, at tmpvolunteers@fpcambridge.org.

 

Salvation Army  This link works.  I am certain that this program is in operation.
Wednesday night community dinner. Served at 402 Mass Ave., 5:00 p.m. Near Central, walk down Mass Ave toward Kendall and I believe it is on the right.  Anyone in need of a warm, nutritious meal is welcome.
Lunches are served weekdays at 12:30 PM. Weekend lunches are served shortly after the drop-in center opens at 11:30 AM on Saturdays, and at 1:30 PM on Sundays.

Wednesday nights there is a community dinner at the Salvation Army at 5pm.

Good Food/Good Friends Women’s Meal Program
Served Thursday nights 5:45 – 7 pm. at the Lounge, St. James Episcopal Church, 1991 Massachusetts Ave.
All women are welcome, 15 guest limit.

Harvard Square Churches Meal Program I am reasonably certain this program still exists.
Served at Christ Church Episcopal, 0 Garden Street; Thursday 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Project Uplift
Union Baptist Church, 874 Main St., Served Thursday 5:00 p.m.

Loaves & Fishes Meal Program I am reasonably certain that this program still exists.
Served at First Korean Church, 35 Magazine St. Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Bread & Jams Sunday Meal Program I am reasonably certain this program still exists.
Vegetarian community meal. May 1 – Oct 15: served 5:00 – 7:15 p.m. at the Cambridge Common near Harvard Sq.
Oct. 15 – Apr. 30: served 5:00 – 7:15 p.m. at St James’s Episcopal Church. Meals are handicapped accessible.
Clothing is also available, donated by the American Friends Service Committee.

Shelter Inc. This link works.
(617) 547-1885
Drop-in center serves meals Monday – Friday to homeless women 18 and over.  This is located at a shelter.