Beverly Bootstraps to Deploy Innovative Approach to Fighting Hunger
A new, innovative method of accessing food is coming to Beverly. Beverly Bootstraps recently purchased and installed Automated Refrigerated Food Lockers in a discreet location in downtown Beverly. This will augment their well-established Food Assistance programming and offer yet another way for people to access food.
The implementation of these lockers marks a continued effort by Beverly Bootstraps to make food access more convenient for anyone in need. “I’m most excited by the 24/7 access in this model,” said Sue Gabriel, Executive Director of Beverly Bootstraps. “People need to work, care for children, elderly parents, or others in their families, making it hard to find time to come to the food pantry to get groceries. They might be a student and have a heavy class schedule or have transportation issues or might just find it embarrassing to come to the food pantry. For so many reasons, people might not be best served through our existing food delivery options. This model provides amazing access and is dignified and private.”
Making use of the new self-service food lockers, food insecure community members living in Beverly, Manchester, Hamilton, Wenham and Essex will be able to pick up food that they’ve ordered online through Beverly Bootstraps’ SmartChoice system at a time of their convenience with 24/7 access to the lockers.
After orders have been fulfilled and placed in the lockers by staff, users will be notified via email and text that their order is ready for pick-up. Users will then be given a one-time code, which once scanned or entered into the kiosk will automatically open the locker(s) containing their order. With all day and all-night contactless pickup, community members can pick up their fresh and healthy food privately, enabling a greater sense of comfort to anyone receiving food.
After seeing monthly pantry visits reach an all-time high, Beverly Bootstraps hopes that these lockers will help provide the community with easier access to food, allowing the organization to serve more people in a less labor-intensive format. Beth Bahret, Food Assistance Supervisor explains, “the food lockers do not need to be constantly monitored. We don’t have to connect with the person directly. All of this allows us to use our labor in an efficient and streamlined manner.” The lockers, which are temperature controlled, ensure that perishable foods like produce, milk, and eggs can all be safely stored until an individual picks up their online order.
According to Greater Boston Food Bank’s most recent “Closing the Meal Gap” study, estimates show that over 6,000 individuals living in Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton, Essex, and Manchester are currently experiencing food insecurity. With rampant inflation over the course of the last year, that number has likely only grown.
Beverly Bootstraps expects that the implementation of these self-service lockers in the community will help bring that number down, while also helping to afford those individuals and families experiencing food insecurity with convenience and privacy.
This project was made possible through funding from the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Community Investment Grant program and other private funding sources. “It’s been almost a year in the planning process of talking with funders and procuring the lockers from Bell and Howell” said Director of Development and External Affairs, Chris Nazareth, who first thought of the idea to implement smart lockers in December 2021. “I’m excited to finally see this innovative approach to addressing food insecurity in action soon.”
Automated Refrigerated Food Lockers will launch in downtown Beverly soon. If you are experiencing food insecurity and cannot make it to our Food Pantry during the week, please fill out this form >>
To help support the critical work of Beverly Bootstraps, please visit: give.beverlybootstraps.org
For additional news articles highlighting our Food Locker initiative, visit: