Thomas M. Menino: Many neighbors will need lots of help this holiday season

Mayor Thomas Menino

The holiday season is around the corner, and as families start planning celebrations with their loved ones, it’s important to remember that we can all enjoy this time a little more if we do our best to help our less fortunate neighbors. 

Cold weather means increased demand at our shelters and food pantries, and we need your help to make sure that no one goes hungry.

The Boston Can Share program is a great opportunity for everyone to lend a helping hand. Now in its 22nd year, Boston Can Share is a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s Office, the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Hunger, Federal Express, The Greater Boston Food Bank, and Project Bread.

Throughout November, our partners at community centers, local businesses, municipal buildings and schools around the city will fill Can Share boxes. Collected food as well as monetary contributions will help replenish the shelves of The Greater Boston Food Bank during the critical high-demand holiday season. 

For some families, providing nutritious food will be particularly difficult this season, as we grapple with the high price of groceries and heating oil. Getting involved is easy and every donation makes a difference.

A variety of canned goods and non-perishables can be donated at sites in every neighborhood of Boston. Drop food off at your local Boston Center for Youth and Families or the FedEx Express Shipping Center located at 775 Summer St. in South Boston. 

Canned fruits, vegetables, tomato sauce, soups, cereals, canned fruit juices, pastas, crackers, canned tuna fish and canned nuts are examples of some of the items that regularly land in the Can Share boxes. 

To provide the most nutritious food possible, we always encourage low sodium and low sugar food donations. 

Most of us have a few items that we can spare from our home pantries to help out another neighbor. The Greater Boston Food Bank will distribute food to over 90 food pantries in Boston, as well as shelters, soup kitchens, and free meal programs.

 If you can’t give canned goods, monetary donations of any amount are always appreciated. Financial donations can be made to “Boston Can Share.” These donations help to fund grants that make fresh produce and items such as baby food and formula available for households in need. Checks can be mailed care of the Emergency Shelter Commission at Room 716, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA 02201.

The great thing about Boston Can Share is that donating food or money is just one way to get involved. To start a collection site at your workplace, call 617-635-4507. FedEx will even provide pickup of the donations from each location for delivery to The Greater Boston Food Bank. 

Each participating company or organization has a coordinator who promotes the food drive to their co-workers. Boston Can Share provides promotional materials such as posters, brochures, and the boxes that are used to collect donations. Through a Corporate Matching Program, certain companies will match their employees’ food donation with a cash donation.

Find registration forms online at If you have any questions regarding Boston Can Share, call the Emergency Shelter Commission at 617-635-4507 or e-mail