The COVID-19 pandemic strained every imaginable aspect of our lives and society — deepening existing inequities seemingly overnight. But in a period of isolation and separation, the Brookline community came together. Thanks to a generous outpouring of donations and support from community members, we expanded our Safety Net Grant Program to support more organizations and efforts aimed at ensuring everyone in our community had the essentials we all need to thrive. Since then, we’ve seen incredible innovative collaborations between organizations begin, and grassroots community efforts grow to powerful, impactful movements. We hope you enjoy the stories below and throughout this report. We’re proud to support our partners’ efforts, and ever grateful to be in this work together.

Though the pandemic’s economic aftershocks could be felt everywhere, they were especially devastating for small, local restaurants and the staff who bring joy to our community through delicious food. At the same time, individuals and families were experiencing increased difficulty accessing healthy, nutritious food—especially lower income households and elders. Knowing something needed to be done about these critical issues, a new set of partners gathered around the table to create a solution that would address both.

Restaurants for Brookline is an innovative program that connects restaurants to social service organizations to provide meals for Brookline residents. Together, The Brookline Chamber of Commerce, The Brookline Food Pantry, and The Brookline Senior Center partnered to bring this program—and delicious meals—to neighbors in need. Local restaurants were paid by The Chamber to create healthy boxed meals showcasing their signature cuisine. These meals were then given to the Food Pantry and Senior Center, who distributed delicious restaurant quality meals throughout Brookline. To date, Restaurants for Brookline has provided hundreds of delicious meals to friends and neighbors in our community, and BCF is proud to be supporting the continuation of this program through our Safety Net Grant Program.