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Preventive Food Pantry

Welcome to the Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center! The Food Pantry works to address nutrition-related illness and under-nutrition for our low-income patients. It fills the therapeutic gap by linking physicians and nutritionists to patients. Individuals with special nutritional needs are referred to the Pantry by BMC primary care providers who write “prescriptions” for supplemental foods that best promote physical health, prevent future illness and facilitate recovery. The Pantry is often used by patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, food allergies and other chronic conditions.

Families can visit the Food Pantry twice per month and receive three to four days worth of food for their household each time. A key feature is the provision of perishable goods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter, and meats all year round – items that are often costly and therefore often lacking in a low-income family’s diet. In 2011, the Preventive Food Pantry provided food to more than 80,500 patients and their household members (an average of 6,709 monthly).

The Food Pantry is open daily, Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It is managed by three staff members and many volunteers. The Pantry Manager is a registered Dietetic Technician, qualified to determine what foods correspond to a patient’s dietary needs, as prescribed by a BMC physician. The Assistant Pantry Manager is fluent in four languages and has been essential in helping the Pantry assist BMC’s many refugee and immigrant patients.

Patients need to be screened and referred to the Food Pantry by their Primary Care Provider.

Boston Medical Center 2012 James W. Varnum Award Recipient

BMC's Food Pantry and Demonstration Kitchen is the proud recipient of the 2012 James W. Varnum National Quality Health Care Award, established by the Trustees of Dartmouth-Hitchcock to recognize an outstanding national leader in health care quality improvement initiatives. Read full story

Refer a Patient

To refer a patient to the Preventive Food Pantry, please follow these instructions:


  1. Click "Letters"
  2. Search "Food Bank"
  3. Answer the two questions that appear
  4. Open the Referral Form
  5. Print and provide to the patient

The letter will say “Boston Medical Center, Nutrition Resource Center, Referral Form” at the top. Please give your patient this referral form to take with them to the Food Pantry.


Call: 617.414.3834 or 617.414.5263
Fax: 617.414.3940

Boston Medical Center
Preventive Food Pantry & Demonstration Kitchen
Yawkey Building, Basement
850 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118