Poverty & Food Insecurity

As of September 2020, the Census Bureau reported that 34 million people lived in poverty in America, and in 2019 The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported that 567,715 people were experiencing homelessness in America. More than 30 million people in America need the government’s help to keep from going hungry, including 5.3 million elderly individuals as of 2018. Many families struggle to receive adequate nutrition. For many children, school breakfast or lunch may be the only real meal they receive per day, though the quality of these meals varies.

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Poverty & Food Insecurity Nonfiction

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Learn More Online

  • Don’t Be Fooled!: Learn more about misinformation and media bias using our online subject guide.
  • Institute for Research on Poverty: The IRP receives federal funding and is based out of the University of Wisconsin. Also maintaining a collaborative network of university based poverty centers.
  • Pew Research: Pew’s topic page is a good starting point. Relevant topics include: Income Inequality, Poverty, and Work & Employment. Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research without taking policy positions.
  • Podcasts:
  • US Census Bureau: This topic page provides poverty thresholds, reports, and articles.
  • US Department of Health & Human Services: View poverty guidelines and other resources compiled by the HHS.

Get Involved

Join or support local chapters and organizations:
  • Chelmsford Community Garden: Plots are a sustainable way to encourage food sovereignty.
  • Chelmsford Food Pantry: Located behind Town Offices at 50 Billerica Road. food pick-up times are Wednesdays 5:00-8:00, Thursdays 2:00-4:00, and Fridays 6:00-8:00. If you can offer support, drop-off hours are Thursdays 10:30-1:00, and there is also a drop-box at the Chelmsford Library.
  • Greater Boston Food Bank: GBFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country.
  • HomeBASE: The Commonwealth’s re-housing benefit created to provide families who are in the emergency shelter assistance system an opportunity to overcome some of the financial barriers to ending their homelessness.
  • Housing Families: Provides safe, temporary shelter and quality affordable housing as well as individualized supportive services to help families maintain permanent housing.
  • Lowell Transitional Living Center: The largest shelter north of Boston, LTLC provides the most vulnerable adults in the Merrimack Valley community with shelter, showers, laundry, and food.
  • Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless: Committed to making sure everyone has a place to call home, they work to maintain awareness of the accelerating challenges of poverty and homelessness. See their Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program.
  • Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance: MHSA is a nonprofit, public policy advocacy organization that has evolved to include nearly 100 community-based member agencies throughout Massachusetts.
  • Merrimack Valley Food Bank: Volunteers welcome!
  • The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell: Located at 13 Hurd Street in Lowell and open weekdays 9am – noon and Wednesday evenings 5:30pm – 7:00pm. Check website for holiday hours and how to make donations
  • Project Bread’s Annual Walk for Hunger: Raise money for hunger defeating programs in your community!
  • Social Justice Book Group: This book group is an informal group that meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. In addition to book discussions on a variety of social justice related topics, the group hosts speaker programs and presentations themed around the selected book titles.
  • Table of Plenty in Chelmsford: A non-profit organization serving a free weekly meal to alleviate hunger and social isolation for individuals and families in a friendly and welcoming environment. ALL ARE WELCOME — no questions asked, ever.
Join or support national or international organizations:
  • CARE International: CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.
  • Feeding America: A network of 200 food banks across the country feeding 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.
  • National Coalition for the Homeless: A national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others.
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