CHINATOWN FAIR FOODS
Program Ended on June 19, 2021 - until further notice on any future program schedule!
Chinatown Fair Food, a joint project of Chinatown Main Street (CMS) and Fair Foods, is scheduled to distribute groceries for $2 a bag, twice a month during the winter.
Fair Foods was founded in 1988 to provide healthy produce to low-income families in the Boston area. Their unique $2 Bag Program makes a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables affordable. For $2, each resident receives a grocery bag containing ten pounds of healthy products such as potatoes, onions, carrots, and spring vegetables. Loaves of bread are included as well. Chinatown Main Street (CMS) was founded in 1995 to help businesses in Chinatown and the local community.
In June 2020, Debbie Ho, CMS Executive Director, and Nancy Jamison, CEO of Fair Foods, discussed the project to alleviate Chinatown’s food insecurity problem, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Boston Chinatown residents have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many businesses have closed or reduced their hours, there is also significant job loss. Since January 2020 and during the Lunar New Year Celebration, many restaurants reported event cancellations and reduced patronage. When Governor Baker ordered restaurants only to offer takeout and delivery, restaurants with large dinner areas could not continue operation. As a result, they lost a majority of their perishable supplies. Only small restaurants, bakeries, and cafés could continue operating at a much-reduced level. One small restaurant that closed reported that they had tried to stay open for takeout, but they had fewer than ten orders in two days. Other businesses, such as beauty parlors, had to close under the social distancing order. The pedestrian traffic trickled down to a record low of only a few hundred a day. During August and September 2019, it averaged about 17,000/day on weekdays and about 24,000/day on weekends. Because of the pandemic, Chinatown was reduced from a bustling neighborhood to a near ghost-town.
The planning for the Chinatown Fair Foods events was challenging. In July 2020, members of the board visited Fair Foods in Dorchester to study food distribution logistics and processes. They then evaluated the potential venues in Chinatown that had large enough safe areas for truck parking, offloading and bagging products, queuing, and distribution. This was further complicated by the need to reduce health risks by following government guidelines – requirements for signage, PPE, social distancing, crowd control, and contingency plans. Finally, in September, CMS was able to get approval from the City to hold the first outdoor event at Phillips Square Park. CMS recruited and mobilized volunteers, and during the initial event on October 24, 2020, over 480 bags of groceries were distributed.
Encouraged by the success of the first event, CMS continued to search for an indoor winter venue. CMS was grateful that St James the Greater Church Council stepped up to offer facilities. St. James is centrally located and has both indoor and outdoor areas for preparing bags for distribution. Much attention was paid to social distancing and disinfecting the portion of the church needed to bag the groceries. On a frigid day (December 19, 2020), CMS successfully conducted the second event with 215 bags given out.
ABCD FOOD PROGRAM
If you or your family members are currently unemployed, then you qualify to receive various groceries through the ABCD Food Program.
Accepted applicants will receive fresh vegetables, fruits, rice, eggs, milk, and more, all provided by the City of Boston Office of Food Access.
Please click the box below to apply for the food program, and use the resources below to contact Chinatown Main Street with any questions.
BOSTON VENDOR FOOD INTIATIVE
Program has Ended - until further notice on any future program schedule!
Are you a Boston Resident who is Currently Unemployed?
You may qualify to receive fresh vegetables, fruits, and other groceries!
Must present ID, proof of residence (utility bill, or cable bill, rental lease) & unemployment verification letter at the time of distribution
Chinatown Main Street & The Office of Food Access, City of Boston will provide food for unemployed resident of Boston.
NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET MONTH CELEBRATION
Time: August 6th & 20th 2022 | 10AM - 2PM
Location: Chin's Park | The Greenway
FREE ORANGES; One per person, while supplies last!
Come down to Chinatown and enjoy the street festivities!
We have games and kid-friendly activities!
Fruits, vegetables, and seafood for sale!