Mayor Gary Christenson was recently invited for a tour of Food Link, a recipient of ARPA funds as they are a supplier of food items to Malden’s Bread of Life, Community Fridges and other local food pantries. The Mayor was joined by Resident Zayda Ortiz who serves on the ARPA Resident Support Subcommittee along with City Councillors Ryan O’Malley and Chris Simonelli. The Subcommittee reviewed Food Link’s application and concluded that their work to bring fresh and healthy food to those in need helped address the food insecurity faced post-COVID. Malden is in the top five of the 55 communities who benefit from Food Link’s services. All funding will go directly back into programming in Malden.
Food Link recently purchased and rehabbed a former auto supply store located at 108 Summer Street in Arlington. The facility is now complete with a loading dock, indoor sorting space, cold-storage facilities, a lift and ramp for accessibility, and community space to educate on food waste, environmental sustainability, and nutrition. They operate with eight full time and two part time employees and more than 250 dedicated volunteers.
Food Link “rescues” surplus high-quality fresh food from farms, grocery stores, and restaurants that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to community organizations serving people in need. In 2021 they rescued 1.4 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 1.2 million meals. They also serve to educate people on decoding the different types of labels on food products. In many instances food can still be used if the code date has passed. Food Link partners with local stores, restaurants, farms, and wholesalers and will pick up all food items for sorting and storing at the facility until it is delivered back into the community. They also partner with vocational and cooking schools – they drop off the ingredients and the students cook the meals to be distributed to seniors and others in the community.
For more information on Food Link and its services, please visit www.foodlinkma.org.
Pictured, from left: Kathleen Manning Hall, Mayor Christenson’s office; Mayor Gary Christenson; Food Link Director of Operations and Community Partnerships Elise Springuel; Food Link Executive Director Rachel Albert; Food Link Co-Founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors Julie Kremer; Malden Resident Zayda Ortiz; and Volunteer and Member of the Board of Directors Donna VanderClock