Townsend group packs and ships meals for seniors

Townsend Ecumenical Outreach reaching out to residents missing meals while stuck at home

Volunteers Jeanne Urda and Rick Bailey, both of Townsend, pack bags and boxes of food for seniors and families in need, at the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach food bank. (SUN/Julia Malakie)

TOWNSEND – As the town-wide state of emergency remains in effect due to the coronavirus, many senior citizens and struggling families have lost the chance to shop for food and get a good meal.

Fortunately, a local group is stepping up its efforts to feed the needy.

Townsend Ecumenical Outreach has been packing crates of food for pickup and delivery to families locally and in Ashby for the last month

. According to TEO President Kym Craven, no more than two volunteers are posted at the TEO’s warehouse on Bayberry Hill Road packing food picked-up from Boston weekly in a sanitary method. Craven said that, aside from the curbside pickups, TEO collaborates with members of the Townsend VFW Post 6538, Townsend Council on Aging and the Townsend Public Library to the homes of senior residents and visitors of local food pantries.

Karin Moore, director of the Council on Aging, said that the food packages have been delivered via a van courtesy of the Townsend Senior Center for the past two weeks.

“We’re a helping agency and we don’t want the process to get odious,” Craven said. “We’re reaching those not necessarily involved in town.”

Craven said that the TEO delivered meals to 50 more senior citizens in March than in February, from 137 to 213 households. In the process of compiling food to distribute, the TEO created a questionnaire for those interested in a package.

Craven said the questionnaire asks residents if they’re allergic to anything and what would they’d be willing to eat, along with providing a list of foods the organization is available to obtain.

She added that people would request for toilet paper, canned vegetables and Chef Boyardee meals.

“We have to match what folks are hoping for versus what we are willing to provide,” Craven said. “The amount of boxes we’re packing up is more time consuming. The hardest part is talking at a distance to someone who is scared.”

Those looking to provide donations of their own to help families can all the TEO at 978-877-6002 or visit the organization’s GoFundMe page at