MHA Employees Donate 15 Bags of Food to the Market at Gray House
SPRINGFIELD — At its recent holiday event, held each January, MHA employees were asked to bring non-perishable items for a food drive to benefit low-income families, and the response was tremendous. Fifteen large bags of food items were collected, including canned vegetables and fruits, pasta, soup, and more, and delivered on Feb. 1.
“We’re thrilled to be able to make such a needed donation to the Market at Gray House,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president, Resource Development & Branding for MHA.
The Gray House is a private, nonprofit social-service agency in the North End of Springfield, which is one of the poorest areas in the city and in the state.
“More than 45% of residents here live below the poverty line,” said Teresa Liberti, director of Gray House. “That’s four times more than the statewide rate. Many visitors to the Market at Gray House find themselves having to choose between buying food and paying for rent, utility bills (including heat), child care, medical bills and prescriptions, and purchasing school uniforms and winter coats. Food is often the first area where people make sacrifices.”
Many visitors to the Market at Gray House report that they are turning to emergency food support for the first time. Many are newly unemployed, employed part-time with their hours greatly reduced, grandparents find themselves unexpectedly caring for family members who can no longer support themselves, and seniors choosing between food and prescriptions.
“As a nonprofit provider of vital community supports and services, we more than understand the important role contributions play in an agency’s ability to serve,” Lee said. “We saw the holiday event as an opportunity for us to reach out and to support the work on an organization like the Gray House, who is serving a very different population than our own. While the majority of our program participants are young and older adults, we wanted to do something that would positively affect the lives of children and their families. We are thrilled to be able to help stock the shelves of the Market at Gray House.”
Open hours for the Market at Gray House are Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and the second and fourth Fridays of the month from 4 to 6 p.m. On average, the Market at Gray House serves 80 to 120 households per week. Households are able to visit 12 times each calendar year, and with each visit, they receive three to four days’ worth of food.
In an effort to destigmatize food assistance, the name the Market at Gray House was adopted in 2018, replacing the previous name, the Gray House Food Pantry. “As always, when people come to the Market at Gray House, they are treated with respect and welcomed by our friendly staff and volunteers,” Liberti said. “Recently we have been getting a lot of families visiting who have never gotten this kind of assistance before, and we are welcoming them and helping them get the food that they need.”