Baker-Polito administration announces over 1 million in-home COVID tests for residents served by local food banks


BOSTONThe Baker-Polito administration today announced an additional distribution of free COVID-19 home test kits to expand access to Commonwealth residents. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Management, will distribute more than one million iHealth Labs OTC rapid home antigen tests to eight of the largest food banks and organizations Massachusetts Food Access Program, increasing access to residents who may not have access to rapid COVID-19 tests through more traditional channels.

Deliveries of iHealth Labs OTC rapid home antigen test kits began this week to eight of Massachusetts’ largest food banks and food access organizations, which serve more than 850,000 residents per month through their networks of more than 570 local pantries across the Commonwealth. This distribution builds on more than 10 million iHealth Labs OTC rapid home antigen tests that have already been widely distributed across the Commonwealth since January to K-12 schools, early childhood education programs, emergency shelters , immigration-oriented community organizations, community health centers, senior housing, health and social service programs and other venues.

“As part of our public health toolkit, the administration is committed to increasing access to convenient at-home COVID-19 testing for our residents,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Partnering with these trusted community organizations is the right thing to do to ensure people facing financial hardship and food insecurity have easy access to these tests.”

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in all corners of the state, especially among communities that have historically experienced inequities in food resources. As food prices rose and families’ budgets became stretched, food banks, pantries and state meal providers scrambled to manage the increased demand and serve more residents than ever before. . These grassroots organizations feed communities with healthy, local, and culturally accessible foods, while connecting residents to existing nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, infants and children (WIC). Food pantries and local food access organizations reach hundreds of thousands of low-income residents, including seniors, low-income families and newcomers from other countries. Providing rapid home antigen testing while residents are already in these reliable food distribution locations saves them time and money.

Food banks and food access organizations will distribute the rapid test kits with the food they provide. These organizations have also been provided with COVID-19 self-testing instructions to access simple, translated instructions in addition to test kits.

Food banks and food access organizations receiving test kits:

  • Greater Boston Food Bank
  • Worcester County Food Bank
  • The Western MA Food Bank
  • Merrimack Valley Food Bank
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“The Greater Boston Food Bank is thrilled to partner with the Baker-Polito administration in the distribution of rapid COVID-19 tests by bringing our operations and logistics expertise, as well as an extensive network,” said Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO. “The strength of our network is in the 600 trusted community partners we work with, who are embedded in 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts and serve those with the fewest resources. Access to rapid tests will be greatly appreciated by the hundreds of thousands of people they serve.

“The Worcester County Food Bank is pleased to partner with Governor Baker’s administration to provide free in-home COVID testing kits to our Worcester County neighbors who would otherwise not have access to this important resource,” said Jean McMurray, CEO of the Worcester County Food Bank. “The kits will be distributed to our pantry network and they will in turn supply them to individuals and households across Worcester County.”

“We are very grateful to the Commonwealth for providing these rapid home tests. For the population we serve, it is not always easy to access these important health resources, so we are very pleased to be able to provide them to our community through our programs and partner agencies,” said declared Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Director of Programs Christina Maxwell

“The Merrimack Valley Food Bank is honored to help distribute COVID home test kits. It was a good decision to ask food banks to facilitate the transmission of tests to residents of MA. At the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, we already provide food through a network of partner food pantries, meal programs, senior centers and community service organizations. These partners will deliver them to families and individuals seeking food assistance and, in some locations, other services. It’s just another way to help keep our neighbors in 33 communities and beyond healthy,” said Merrimack Valley Food Bank Executive Director Amy Pessia.

Home COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits are a quick, easy and convenient way to test for COVID-19. In addition to the administration providing iHealth Labs OTC rapid home antigen test kits and allowing municipalities to purchase tests directly, residents can visit local pharmacies or order online to buy themselves. rapid test kits, as needed.

Massachusetts is performing more COVID tests than almost any other state in the country thanks to the hundreds of existing testing sites across the Commonwealth. All test sites are listed here: mass.gov/getsted.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are one of many risk reduction measures, along with vaccination and receiving a booster, that can protect individuals by reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

For detailed testing information, visit mass.gov/getsted

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