Red Cross Food Pantry This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Red Cross Food Pantry by C. K., Brookline, MA

I started volunteering last year at the Red Cross Food Pantry in Boston, not quite knowing what I was getting into. I knew that I wanted to volunteer outside school, but wasn't sure of what program I wanted to do. I decided on the Food Pantry because I happened to know the student leader, and she expressed a need for recruits. I'm glad that I chose the Food Pantry because the work that we do is truly effective.

One of the responses to the hunger problem is the establishment of programs such as this food pantry in Boston, which is the largest of its kind in New England. Essentially, the Pantry is donated food from various sources, the food is packaged into shopping bags, and then distributed to people of the Boston area who qualify for food assistance. The food we receive comes from all over. We receive the "rejects" from major brand-name factories, deemed so because of perhaps a small tear in the external packaging, but perfectly fine in terms of the quality of the food inside. We also get food straight from the government through the U.S.D.A. Last year, we even got a shipment of leftovers from Operation Desert Storm.

Some might argue that the work of the Pantry has no long-term effects. It is true that we do not go out and find people jobs, but the program makes no pretense of this. The basis of the program is to try to help people make ends meet. The Pantry gives out food in the hopes that people won't have to return in the future, because they will have gained independence, and will be able to rely on themselves for food. The Pantry is meant to be a means of assistance, not a final solution. We take food that would ordinarily be thrown away, and put it to good use.

Working at the Pantry has made me realize just how perfectionistic a society we live in. Nothing that touches the supermarket shelves is allowed to have any flaws in packaging whatsoever, regardless of whether the food inside is perfectly edible. This is sad for the society we live in, but fortunate for programs like the Food Pantry that make good use of the food.Drumlin Farms Food Project





These pieces were written while T., C. and V. were participating in the Drumlin Farms Food Project, which conbined a group of urban and suburban teens who farmed three acres at the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln. The project sold their produce at farmers markets and supplied food banks and homeless shelters. For more information, call Pat Gray at Drumlin Farms (508)259-9500.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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