The Phoenix Food Hub is a collaborative project spearheaded by Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) as part of the Lynn Food Security Task Force and involving many organizations across the city intended to bring together—under one roof—as many nutrition-related supports as possible. The Phoenix Food Hub is located in downtown Lynn, Massachusetts and serves people of all ages with nutrition needs in and around the Greater Lynn and North Shore area. The idea is to offer a one stop shop—or something as close to that as possible—where individuals and families at risk of nutrition insufficiency can access a variety of resources to effectively address this critical challenge.
This innovative Food Hub model is designed to address both the immediate needs that might bring people into the food pantry part of the Hub, for example, and providing them, while they are on-site, with a range of other nutrition and related services which may be required to truly eliminate nutrition deficiencies.
There were really two currents intersecting in ways that made a Food Hub for Lynn seem like an excellent solution to a critical community need. First, GLSS has always been aware of food insecurity needs relative to its own consumers and has operated Meals on Wheels and congregate meal sites throughout its catchment area for many years. The pandemic, of course, intensely exacerbated this issue. Discussions with the Lynn Food Security Task Force made clear that together—as many organizations collaborating—we could strengthen our capacities to effectively reach more at-risk individuals and deliver more comprehensive nutrition supports.
At the same time, GLSS was considering how it was going to repurpose the very large first floor space in its 8 Silsbee Street office that had previously housed the Lynn Senior Center. Using that space to support a different kind of Center—one that focused on the nutrition needs of all Lynn residents—resonated as an excellent solution both within GLSS as well as with the Lynn Food Security Task Force. Having a space large enough to provide food distribution; screening, education and counseling; other vital nutrition supports; as well as wrap-around services—all delivered as a result of great partnering across multiple organizations—is an exciting solution to a hugely important problem.
Key partners of the Phoenix Food Hub include organizations comprising the Lynn Food Security Task Force:
To date, the Phoenix Food Hub has received generous grant support from
Additional support comes from private donors.
The Mass General Brigham grant will provide 5 years of support to the Phoenix Food Hub collaboration, including substantial funding to renovate the space, ensuring its full accessibility and capacities to offer a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen.
GLSS and the Lynn Food Security Task Force will continue to seek funding to ensure the Phoenix project can develop and maintain critical communications and database infrastructures (to demonstrate program impact), ensure appropriate staffing to fully deliver programs that meet the needs of all residents, and maintain the facility as well as secure and maintain necessary equipment (e.g., freezers, mobile refrigerated vans, stove, etc.).