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86 the plastic. Truro Community Kitchen fights food insecurity — and waste

Transitioning to reusable containers "cements us as a long-term institution that isn't going anywhere," says TCK cofounder Eli Sobel.

After cooking up and delivering 25,000 free meals over the last four years, Truro Community Kitchen is ditching plastic.

Later this month, the nonprofit's volunteers will begin distributing food in reusable containers and tote bags.

With people locked down in their homes in 2020, the service was founded with the intention of distributing meals for only a few weeks. But today, with the height of the pandemic long behind us, "the public health crisis of hunger in Massachusetts persists," the Greater Boston Food Bank reported.

It estimates that one in three Massachusetts adults struggled with food insecurity in 2022. And Truro Community Kitchen is still serving more than 100 people every week, says cofounder and codirector Eli Sobel.

"What that indicates is that the need for a free-meal program like ours exists in Truro independently of the pandemic, and that's why we're still here four years later," they said.

Volunteers haven't missed a single Tuesday. Every delivery contains protein, salad, fruit and a sandwich for the next day, no questions asked.

Truro Community Kitchen does not collect the names of those who sign up for meals.

"Central to our mission is the understanding that people may want a free community dinner for so many different reasons, including but not limited to financial need," Sobel said. "We want to welcome and support anybody who could benefit from not having to cook dinner one night."

Truro Community Kitchen's sustainability initiative is receiving support from ReThink Disposable, a program of Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund. Truro Central School allows volunteers access to its dishwasher, while Christian Union Church hosts the food preparation.

Volunteering information is available on the nonprofit's website.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.