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Lynn Food Hub Unveiled with $1.85 MIL Grant from Mass General Brigham: Officials also call it a “game-changer” for Salem Hospital patients

LYNN & SALEM, MA – Infused by a 5-year, $1.85 million community health grant from Mass General Brigham, the Phoenix Food Hub officially opened Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in downtown Lynn.

“This is such an important milestone for the city,” Mayor Jared Nicholson told the assembled crowd.

This unique population health initiative is a “one-stop” shop for people of all ages offering access to a broad range of nutrition-related programs and community resources—including Catholic Charities’ new Lynn Food Pantry—as well as supports to address other life challenges which may also affect health and well-being.

“When we identify patients with food access challenges at our hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other outpatient locations, we now have a centralized hub where we can refer them. That’s a game-changer for this community,” said Tina McLoughlin, Director of Community Health at Salem Hospital.

This program is part of a larger Mass General Brigham Community Health grant initiative. In October of 2021, Mass General Brigham announced a $50 million investment to improve the health of the communities it serves. In partnership with several community-based organizations, the initiative supports programs focused on mental healthcare capacity, workforce development, chronic disease management, and nutrition security and equity. This past September, Mass General Brigham’s commitment to addressing food insecurity was highlighted at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health by the Biden-Harris Administration.

“We are thrilled to support the creation of this crucial hub for the community of Lynn during a time when food insecurity is unfortunately on the rise. These efforts are essential to address the challenges and barriers that many people in the communities we serve are facing,” said Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH, Chief Community Health and Health Equity Officer at Mass General Brigham.

The Phoenix Food Hub is a collaborative project of the Lynn Food Security Task Force, spearheaded by Greater Lynn Senior Services and involving many organizations across the city. The 7,300-square-foot space is a one-stop shop where individuals and families at risk of nutrition insufficiency can access a variety of resources to help them better manage their overall health and well-being. The Hub is conveniently located in the same space that houses the recently opened Lynn food pantry, operated and funded by the Boston nonprofit Catholic Charities, also a member of the Lynn Food Security Task Force.

The Phoenix Food Hub will offer access to:

  • A state-of-the-art teaching kitchen with healthy cooking instructional classes
  • Food distribution, an expanded home-delivered meals program, and farmers’ markets
  • Nutrition screening, counseling, and education through one-on-one sessions and workshops
  • A support system for transportation to markets, reading of labels for nutritional value, planning of menus, and managing of dietary requirements • Counseling for SNAP, WIC, and other nutrition-related benefits

In addition to these nutrition services, the Hub will also provide related support on issues such as housing, mobility, stress management, financial management, and more. It will incorporate data systems that will capture both social determinant of health indicators and clinical indicators, correlating these appropriately, and clearly identifying how the Phoenix Food Hub and its programs are improving overall community health and lowering health care costs.

“We are extremely grateful to Mass General Brigham for this five-year funding commitment to the Phoenix Food Hub collaboration. We are looking forward to strengthening our capacities to effectively reach more at-risk individuals and deliver more comprehensive nutritional support,” said Kathryn C. Burns, Chief Executive Officer at Greater Lynn Senior Services.