With food insecurity on the rise, the YMCA of Metro North is expanding its food distribution program to cover the region.

The YMCA of Metro North recently announced the expansion of its summer food program across the Metro North region. Operating five distribution sites in Lynn, Peabody, and Saugus, the YMCA of Metro North will serve more than 500 meals every day to children in their service areas.

“We had planned a regional expansion of our food program for some time,” says Andrea Baez, Senior Branch Executive of the Lynn YMCA. “The COVID crisis brought into sharp focus the social and economic inequities plaguing our communities, and basic food for kids is one of the most urgent needs right now. We want to see our kids grow up strong, and nutrition is a major component of creating that outcome.”

Food insecurity has steadily increased across the state. In a May 21 report, the U.S. hunger relief organization Feeding America projected that one in eight people in Eastern Massachusetts will experience food insecurity in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a 59 percent increase in those who were experiencing food insecurity before COVID-19. In addition, food prices are on the rise making affordable food scarce for out-of-work or struggling families.

The food program expansion was developed in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Summer Eats program providing food assistance to low-income families since 1968. The association also received funding from the $6.1 million Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Essex County Community Foundation.

“We see the number of requests for food growing every day,” says Jen Conway, Executive Director of the Saugus Family YMCA. “I’ve had parents tell me they are relying on Dollar Tree to feed their kids on a budget. Some of these parents are managing two or three jobs to make it all work and this way they can spend their funds on other necessities for the kids.”

The YMCA of Metro North began its expanded summer food distribution in mid-July, and provides a mix of breakfast and lunch at its locations Monday through Friday. No registration or IDs are needed for children to receive meals.

“I can’t predict what will happen with COVID-19 in the near future, but I do know that the need for food programs will not change anytime soon. Even if the economy does hit phase four, food insecurity was on the rise before the pandemic,” says Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metro North. “More partnership and funding for this program will be crucial in the long road ahead to a ‘new normal.’ Kids are going to need this safety net more than ever, especially with school openings postponed.”

For more details, please visit: https://www.ymcametronorth.org/the-y-feeds-kids

YMCA of Metro North Food Distribution Sites


20 Neptune Blvd.
Breakfast & Lunch- 9:00am-1:00pm

Cobbett Hill Apartments
500 Essex St.
Lunch- 11:00am-1:00pm- Mondays & Fridays Only


Saugus Family YMCA
298 Main St.
Breakfast & Lunch- 9:00am-1:00pm


Torigian Family YMCA
259 Lynnfield St.
Breakfast & Lunch- 9:00am-1:00pm

The Tannery
18 Crowninshield St.
Lunch- 11:00am-1:00pm- Mondays & Fridays Only