David Giagrando, senior development director of the Greater Boston Food Bank, said the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that significant numbers of households are struggling with adequate food on a regular basis.
“Before the COVID hit, we were handing out a million pounds of food a week,” he said. “After COVID, we handed out an average of 2.5 million pounds of food a week. That’s how widespread food insecurity is.”
Giagrando, a Weymouth-based Hull-born man, was recently appointed Senior Director of Development by the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Board of Directors.
“David brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in community development and revenue generation, and we are grateful to have him on our team,” said Arlene Fortunato, senior vice president of development at the Greater Boston Food Bank, in a written statement. “This has been a year like no other in which the food aid needs in eastern Massachusetts remain at historic levels. Our fundraising drives are more important than ever today. “
The Greater Boston Food Bank supplies food to 600 affiliated pantries in 190 cities in eastern Massachusetts.
Weymouth is one of the communities receiving support from the food bank.
Giagrando said the food bank had Weymouth residents in key positions.
The lead includes Daniel O’Neill, purchasing manager, Joyce MacDonald, a fundraising employee focused on women’s philanthropy, and Mina John, a digital marketing manager.
“Between the four of us who live in Weymouth we have the Weymouth Food Pantry and we have feeding programs with the Weymouth Public Schools,” said Giagrando.
He said Weymouth is a great community that has so much to offer the people.
“There are so many food insecurity programs out there and the food bank is the icing on the cake,” said Giagrando.
Giagrando said he was proud to join the food bank at a critical time.
“The food bank has been an incredible resource for people in these challenging times,” he said.
Giagrando said he anticipates the grocery bank will be distributing more than 100 million pounds of food to pantries and various outreaches in eastern Massachusetts by the end of the organization’s fiscal year. October 1
“That’s the equivalent of 93 million meals,” he said.
Giagrando said the increased unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant more households did not have enough to eat on a regular basis.
“You have to decide whether I will pay my light bill, mortgage or clothes for the children?” he said. “There are people in the Weymouth Food Pantry who never thought they would have to go there for help.”
Giagrando said the food bank could provide meals to households through pantries and help them skip a mortgage or car payment for grocery purchases.
“A car might be the only resource left for someone coming for an interview or getting food,” he said.
Giagrando said the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was being felt in affluent cities.
“There are pantries in Cohasset and Hingham,” he said. “This pandemic has shown where the cracks are and how vulnerable everyone is to food insecurity.”
Giagrando said his duties at the food bank would force him to develop effective strategies that encourage donations from businesses and individuals.
“Before this pandemic, 50 percent of our food was donated by companies,” he said. “Because of the pandemic, the supply chain has been turned upside down. There has been a shortage of food. “
Giagrando said restaurants that generally contributed to the food bank were unable to do so due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
“We now have to buy 70% of the food we sell,” he said. That is the main reason we raise funds to help secure food for those who are unsafe. “
Giagrando said the pandemic has forced the food bank and its affiliated pantries to change the way meals are distributed to people in accordance with the state’s health guidelines.
“We have to repackage the food and make passages,” he said.
Weymouth Food Pantry operates drive-through pantries on a weekly basis at the Old South Union Church, 25 Columbian St., First Church in Weymouth, 17 Church St., and the Crossroads Worship Center, 241 Broad St.
People can enter the pantry in the First Church parking lot on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and food will be distributed outside the sanctuary on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in front of Crossroads Church.
The pantry at Old South Union Church has food in the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Giagrando said he will use his 25 years of fundraising experience with various nonprofit groups to help the food bank raise funds and receive food donations.
His professional experience includes serving as Vice President of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.
“I worked for the Hannington Theater Company in Boston raising funds for the arts,” he said. “I raised funds for education at Bentley College. I started my career at United Way. I love waking up and going to work knowing that I’m going to do work that makes a difference for stakeholders, not shareholders. I make money for people who need care, help, services and food. It’s a great feeling to be a part of it. Some people joke and tell me you would be a great lawyer or salesman but that doesn’t fill my soul. “