Health, Lifestyle, News

My Brother’s Table Meal Distribution Up 587 Percent

This article was published 2 year(s) and 10 month(s) ago.

Lynn Community Health Center worker and Peabody resident Daenor Linton fills up to-go cups with juice before the dinner rush on Monday night at My Brother’s Table in Lynn. (Olivia Falcigno)

LYNN — My Brother’s Table celebrated its 38th birthday Saturday Oct. 24 at a time when it may be doing more for the community than at any other point in their history. 

The hospitality-based charity on 98 Willow St., served 587 percent more meals this September than it served in the same month last year.

During 2019, which was already a record year for the organization, My Brother’s Table distributed 204,770 meals.

In the first nine months of 2020 alone, that number has more than doubled, to 510,888.

“We’ve seen a lot of new faces,” said My Brother’s Table Executive Director Dianne Kuzia Hills. 

The increased demand began with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has increased as the year has progressed. While in March, the increase was limited (23,655 meals served in 2020 compared to 17,036 in 2019) in September that number ballooned to 94,949 meals served compared to 16,168 in September of last year.

“I really saw the line between how people who are economically stable are living during the pandemic and how much more terrifying it is if you’re not,” said Hills. “It’s just very different if you’re not wealthy.”

The pandemic has altered the charity’s strategy in several ways. First, they are no longer allowing guests to eat in their dining room, offering meals to take home instead.

The charity also instituted a new policy in which guests can take home as many meals as they need. Before the pandemic, they limited each guest to one meal.

“That’s good for two reasons,” said Hills. “It gets less people into the dining room, which is always good with social distancing. It also gets food out to people who find it hard to get down here for whatever reason.”

Based on the overwhelming response to this program, My Brother’s Table intends to maintain this policy after the end of the pandemic.

They have also invested in additional custodial services, sending in a crew of people to clean and sanitize the space overnight.

Additionally, they expanded their hours, now operating from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.

They have dealt with the massive increase in demand while operating short-handed. 

“We’ve had less volunteers,” said Hills. “A big part of our volunteer base are retired people. Folks that are in high-risk groups. The other way that we get volunteers is through churches and schools. And they’re not doing group projects for the most part.”

Because My Brother’s Table is a hospitality-based charity, they do not accept any funds from the government, relying mostly on individual donations.

“When you get government money, either you have to serve only certain people, or you have to collect data from people,” Hills explained. 

“If someone came to your house for dinner you wouldn’t be like ‘how much money do you make,’ ‘how many kids do you have.’ We just don’t want to do that here. We believe if we do what the community asks, then the community will support us.”

To donate or volunteer, visit

More Stories From Lynn