The subzero temperature did not deter Christine Cuffie. The 71-year-old retired cook was among dozens of people in line the one day a month when people 55 and older got exclusive access to the groceries at Open Pantry's Emergency Food Pantry in Springfield.
"Hunger is a growing problem. Technically, the recession may be over, but it doesn't feel over to a lot of people," Wong said.
At Open Pantry, Cuffie left with two bags of groceries. Though disappointed there were no fresh vegetables, she was grateful for the food she got.
"It's food I don't have to buy," she said.
Larger said the pantry usually serves about 120 on Senior Day, the third Monday of each month. People 55 and older may use the pantry 12 times a year; others are limited to six visits.
Some of the clients arrive at the food pantry in the Golden Age Club van operated by the Springfield Department of Elder Affairs.
"So many people are struggling today," Larger said.
Jean Lang is a writer living in Milton, Mass.