City asks volunteers, groups to stop distributing prepared meals around Mass. and Cass –

By Dialynn Dwyer
Boston officials are asking well-meaning members of the public and volunteer groups to stop distributing prepared meals and food to individuals around Mass. and Cass, the region’s epicenter of the addiction, homelessness, and mental health crises
The city is circulating a flyer with the ask, urging people to refrain from circulating the prepared food items, particularly around the Southampton Street shelter and Newmarket Square. 
“While well-intentioned, your efforts can lead to harm to community members,” the message reads. 
The advisory lists several reasons behind the city’s stance, including safety and sanitation concerns.
The city said when vehicles stop on Southampton Street to distribute food, it promotes congregation in the roadway, puts individuals at risk of being struck, and creates congestion in the area. Improper disposal of the food packages is also connected to an increase in trash, according to the city, which not only makes it challenging for city workers to maintain a clean environment, but also results in an increased rodent population, which poses a health risk to those living in shelters in the area.
“Shelters serving food also provide access to treatment, housing navigation and healthcare services,” the flyer reads. “Distributing food on the street makes people less likely to access these services.”
Instead of preparing food, the city provided a “wish list” of items, ranging from toiletries to clothing to shelf-stable, packaged foods, that Boston’s human services are accepting donations of. 
The city also suggested that volunteers can “channel” their compassion by serving or sponsoring meals for emergency shelter guests, invite an individual to eat a meal in a local business, or provide housing or employment opportunities to people in need in the area, among other efforts. 
“The City of Boston commends your efforts to support community members experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, or mental health challenges in the area,” the flyer reads.
City of Boston Flyer Mass. and Cass by dialynn dwyer on Scribd
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