The ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) North End Food Pantry was founded in the late 1980s and assists nearly 100 unduplicated clients each month, mainly from the North End neighborhood, but also from East Boston and Charlestown. The folks who use the pantry are elderly single persons and couples, a clear majority of who have lived in the North End for the past six or seven decades. Many are Italian immigrants with limited English who would be socially isolated without the center, where they have friends and help to get the services that keep them going.
Once the site of warehouses, factories, and tenements packed with the immigrants who labored in them, today’s North End is a historical tourist attraction; an upscale dining destination; and a swank address for a growing population of moneyed young professionals. A bit of the old North End, and even some of those immigrants, however, can still be found at the center, a satellite of Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), New England’s largest anti-poverty agency.
Maria Stella Gulla, Director, is in her second year as director of the center, and in her 19th year on staff. Maria Stella empathizes with the struggles facing our seniors because of her own immigrant experience. Her family came to Boston from Italy when she was two. As the oldest daughter, she helped her parents to navigate an unfamiliar culture and language. Unfortunately, she shares, there were no English classes and support networks in my parents’ day like those that exist now. She wants this center to be haven for those in need but the work is getting harder.
Although the need for food assistance is up, donations are unfortunately down and not keeping pace. While ABCD is thankful for federal and state funding, and individual and corporate donations, the demand for food is tremendous and our hungry neighbors need more help. The NE/WE NSC gratefully welcomes monetary donations, gift cards, and nonperishable food items. Please check expiration dates as we cannot give out expired goods!
The food pantry is staffed by Eve Howell, Case Manager I; Huseyin Senturk, Neighborhood Service Coordinator; and volunteers. The North End Emergency Food Pantry is open Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM. For more information, please call the center at 617-523-8125.