We like to think of the holiday season as a time of joy and celebration. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, though, this season---and the rough Winter that follows---can bring with it anxiety and worry about how to provide holiday happiness and Winter security for those we love. Here in Somerville, there are a number of agencies and services to help.
In particular, the Somerville community has a number of locations where you can secure free, healthy food to prepare at home, as well as places where you can sit down and enjoy hot, communal meals in a supportive environment. Project Soup, 75 Cross Street in East Somerville, hosts a food pantry for Somerville residents during the day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. For more information, you can call (617)776-7687. The Elizabeth Peabody House, 277 Broadway, Somerville, also has a pantry for Somerville residents every Wednesday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Please call (617)623-5510 for more information.
First Congregational Church of Somerville, 89 College Avenue hosts free dinners every Monday at 5 p.m. and Connexion, 149 Broadway, offers a free community meal on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. The Somerville Community Baptist Church, 31 College Avenue, serves dinner on the second Friday of every month, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to these Somerville-based sites, the Somerville Food Security Coalition publishes a full resource guide with listings for food pantries and communal meals available in surrounding communities, including Cambridge, Medford, and Boston. You can access this full list from their website at http://somervillefoodsecurity.org/.
Specifically for Christmas, the Cambridge Salvation Army Corps will offer sign-ups for families of two or more for Thanksgiving food baskets for residents of Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville. You must register at their site at 402 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge any day from 9 a.m. – noon and from 1-3 p.m. beginning November 27th, up until December 1st. You will need to bring identification, a copy of your lease or identification for all family members living with you, and proof of income.
Toys for Tots and Globe Santa also work to bring joy and toys to families with young children. In both cases, it is best to work with a social services agency that can give a referral. You can find more information about these programs from the following links: https://devens-ma.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx and https://globesanta.org/aboutreq.aspx#request.
Somerville’s anti-poverty agency, the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), has a Homelessness Prevention Program that provides benefits and utilities advocacy services to low income individuals and families. They can be reached by calling (617)623-7370. The Somerville Homeless Coalition also provides case management, referrals, and assistance for individuals and families facing homelessness. Contact them at (617) 623-6111. Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services can often provide legal assistance and advocacy surrounding housing, consumer, and benefit issues affecting lower income adults and families. They can be reached by calling (617)603-2700.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of every resource available to you, the programs referenced in this article have established a history of providing comfort and support to Somerville residents in need. Their skilled, resourceful, and compassionate staff will be able to direct you to other services designed to help.