Uncertainty swirled in the early days of the pandemic. Businesses rushed to comply with state orders, households tried to figure out how to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, and we all adjusted to a strange and frightening new normal. Since then, it has continued to be a year of loss and difficulty. Amidst all the darkness, the resilience and strength of our local farmers and food businesses have shone brightly.
Across New England, we saw farmers and community members step up and find innovative new ways to feed our neighbors. Farms launched direct-to-consumer websites and delivery services. Residents started new food pantries and community refrigerators filled with local food and found safe ways to share it with community members. Small businesses, schools, local nonprofits, and neighborhood groups stepped up to serve their communities.
At the Legal Food Hub, we were proud to support some of the inspiring new initiatives that launched during the pandemic. Our volunteer attorneys helped new food pantries formalize their nonprofit status so they could accept grants and donations more easily. They also helped farms set up online sales systems and navigate the new unemployment guidelines. And, our team produced legal guides for understanding the new federal rules for unemployment and sick leave.
As we look to the long recovery ahead, the strength and courage that our farmers and local food businesses have shown every day give us reasons for hope. At the Legal Food Hub, we will be there to serve these resilient businesses that nourish our communities.