Did you know that 17 percent of Charlestown’s 7,931 households, or 1,355 homes, experience food insecurity? Half of these household have children under 18. One out of four Charlestown children depends on your generosity. (Data collected from U.S. Census Bureau, Feeding America, Department of Health and Human Services)
Harvest on Vine was established in 2003 as a way to ensure that food would be available to Charlestown residents experiencing temporary economic setbacks. At that time, it was intended as an emergency food source. Unfortunately, as the economic landscape changed, so has the role of Harvest on Vine.
Many households no longer come to local food pantries to meet short-term needs, but rather for continuous help. Food assistance has become a staple for many families. Choosing between food and other household expenses, such as rent and utilities, is a way of life for low-income families, highlighting the fact that food insecurity is a consequence of broader economic vulnerability. The sustained need for food underscores an ongoing challenge for the families who come to Harvest on Vine.
Demand for food assistance is at an all-time high. Rising food and gas prices put pressure on family budgets. Additionally, spending on low-income assistance programs has been reduced, and federal programs face the prospect of cuts. The increasing need for assistance is likely to continue for years.
During the year of 2017, The Charlestown Benevolent Fund, a Donor Advised Fund at The Boston Foundation, will match your gift to Harvest on Vine up to $16,000. The funds will be used to buy fresh produce for the poor families of Charlestown.
Note: Some of you have heard about the challenge and have already donated. Your donation has been processed and the matching funds have been paid.