Guest Blogger: GBFB Boston Marathon Runner, Brian Reh, Victor, NY.

I’m proud to say that this is my third year in a row running for The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB)! I ran the 2012 heat wave. During 2013, I was on Boylston Street when the bombs went off at the finish line. I had just completed the race about 25 minutes earlier and it will remain a day that the world will never forget. For 2014, I am looking forward to hearing the roars from the crowd for 26.2 miles. It is going to be a special year for runners and spectators to show what “Boston Strong” really means.

My wife and kids are active volunteers at our local food cupboard in Victor, NY. Their experiences have opened my eyes to the enormity of our nation’s hunger crisis and I am honored to be one of three runners this year running for GBFB to help End Hunger Here. GBFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. My fundraising will help GBFB acquire nutritious food to distribute to those in need throughout eastern Massachusetts.

I have tasted what it feels like to cross the finish line of endurance sports. Words don’t capture the physical and emotional rush that comes with such a moment. And when you add the environment of an iconic event like Boston and running for such an important cause, it’s just impossible to reproduce anywhere else in life. I’m excited to have that experience this year.

If you haven’t already, please check out this video I made last year. I hope it inspires you to donate below so I can reach my goal!


Guest Blogger: GBFB Boston Marathon Runner, Rob Newbold, Sharon, MA.

April 15, 2013 is a day most Bostonians, and perhaps many around the world, will not easily forget. The day of the Boston Marathon is usually a fantastic day in and around town. The Red Sox play early in the day, schools and many offices are closed, and everyone has a favorite place to camp out and watch the runners. On this day, however, a great Boston tradition was marred by horrific and tragic events.

Like many others, I knew I had to find a way to run the race in 2014. I knew I had to help prove that the acts of a few can’t break the spirit of this amazing event. Unfortunately, I also knew there was no way I’d ever make the 3 hour and 20 minute qualifying time, so I needed a little help. I have a good friend who regularly volunteers at The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) and I had been looking for a way to get involved and make a difference. I am “killing two birds with one stone” by running for an organization I wanted to contribute to and running a race I never thought I would be able to run. There are so many deserving causes and organizations, but I felt that GBFB was a place that my fundraising could have the most immediate impact. I am so lucky to say my family and I have never experienced hunger and I truly wish we lived in a world without hunger. For me, this 2014 Boston Marathon is about standing strong and representing people that may not be able to stand for themselves within our community. Whether that is a family struggling with hunger or someone impacted by the horrific events of the 2013 race.

I am so proud to be one of three runners to run for GBFB and I hope to contribute in its role to help End Hunger Here. You can help too by donating below!


Guest Blogger: GBFB Boston Marathon Runner, Brian Danz, West Roxbury, MA.

Born, raised, and living in West Roxbury, the same house that 5 generations have lived, I attended Boston Latin School, Bentley University and married my high school sweetheart. Needless to say, I call Boston my home and feel very much part of its community.

As a little guy, I remember watching in awe each April as the Marathon runners braved the long mileage, yet never felt that I had the courage to join their ranks. The events of last year changed my perspective. I was surrounded by a family that were among the first responders at the finish line and the challenging days that followed. My father-in-law is the Boston Fire Department Chief and was in charge of the finish line when the explosions occurred. My brother, a nurse at Boston Medical Center, cared for many of the victims. The strength and resolve they showed fueled me in my training over the past few months. They, and the countless people impacted, put things into perspective regarding how lucky I am to be able to run.

I can’t repay anyone for what they did to help that day, but I have committed to raise $5,000 for The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), as a way to show the sense community we all felt one year ago. I am honored to be one of three runners running for GBFB and to help GBFB’s effort to End Hunger Here right in our community. One in four children in eastern Massachusetts is food insecure. Being a dad to two beautiful red headed girls, one of which was born hours following the Marathon, it frightens me to think of them ever having to feel true hunger.

Even though I have exceeded my goal, I’m not stopping my fundraising efforts until the day I step foot onto the Marathon course. Please help me ensure that no child go hungry in Massachusetts by donating below!


Putting the Nutrition back in the Label! | The Greater Boston Food Bank

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently proposed some updates to their nutrition facts label that will help The Greater Boston Food Bank and consumers alike make healthier choices on what we eat. The three major changes include a greater understanding of Nutrition Science, updating the serving size requirements, and a design refresh.

Nutrition Science education is included by requiring manufacturers to add new information on “Added Sugars”, Vitamin D, and Potassium, which are all currently significant to the public interest. Calcium and iron will still be required while Vitamins A and C are optional. “Calories from fat” will be removed since studies have shown that the type of fat consumed is much more important than the actual amount.

Putting the Nutrition back in the Label! | The Greater Boston Food Bank

Serving sizes will be updated to reflect what people actually eat and drink in one sitting, not what they “should” be eating. Packaged foods and drinks that are usually eaten in one sitting will be labeled as a single serving and the nutrition facts label will represent information for the entire package. An example of this is 12 and 20 ounce sodas, both are typically consumed in one sitting so both labels will reflect the total amount in the bottle. Packaged foods that are larger and can be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings will have a “dual column” label showing both “per serving” and “per package” nutrition information. This way, if people choose to eat or drink the entire package, they will have all of the information about what they are consuming.

Finally, there will be a fresh new look to the label! Calories and Serving sizes will be larger to stand out and be more visible to the public. The Percent Daily Value, which tells consumers how much of certain nutrients one is getting from a particular food when compared to the total daily recommendation, will be moved to the left to be more visibly prominent. The footnote will also be updated to more clearly explain the Percent Daily Value.

The Greater Boston Food Bank is excited about these proposed changes because the new label helps us in promoting more nutritious lives by enabling individuals and communities to make more informed and healthy food choices!

To learn more about these Nutrition Label changes, visit the FDA website.

 

References

  1. Proposed Nutrition Facts Label At-A-Glance. FDA.org. Retrieved March 6, 2014.

Watch The Greater Boston Food Bank’s President and CEO, Catherine D’Amato, talk about the Farm Bill on Fox News.

Video courtesy of FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

The Farm Bill & Residents of Massachusetts

As Catherine D’Amato (GBFB”s President and CEO) states in her Fox 25 interview, the recent House and Senate passing of the Farm Bill will have significant implications for Americans as well as food banks and pantries. The bill will cut $8.7 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).[1] These cuts come on the heels of the $5 billion SNAP program cut this past November.[3]

Additionally, the H-EAT (Heat and Eat) program, a fuel assistance program designed for SNAP households so decisions between affording food or heat will not have to be made, will be impacted the most. Massachusetts, as well as fourteen other states and the District of Columbia (CA, CT, DE, ME, MI, MT, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA and WI), offer the H-EAT program. An average household relying on SNAP and H-EAT will see up to $90 cut from their monthly benefits. Who will this impact?

  • Cuts will affect approximately 850,000 American households and roughly 1.7 million people.[2]
  • In Massachusetts, about 125,000 households will see a $70 monthly decrease in SNAP and H-EAT benefits.[3]
  • The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) projects that of the households impacted, 80% are seniors or persons with disabilities.
  • DTA data also projects that more than 35% of SNAP households include young children.

 
Essentialy, some of the most vulnerable populations, including elders, veterans, persons with disabilities and children will be impacted.[4]

The bill will also impact food banks and food pantries. Each month, individuals will run out of their SNAP funds faster and will seek alternative ways to obtain healthy food. As a result, more will rely on hunger-relief organizations that are supplied by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Continued support to meet this need is crucial so that GBFB and other organizations can continue to acquire and distribute more food.

What else can you do? Many organizations have vocalized their concern around this bill and have encouraged community members to contact their congressional representatives to make their voices heard.

 

References

  1. Bipartisan Farm Bill deal to cut over $8 billion in food stamps. www.msnbc.com. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  2. Commentary: Nutrition Title of Farm Bill Agreement Drops Draconian Cuts and Represents Reasonable Compromise. www.cbpp.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  3. Massachusetts Law Reform Institute – The FACTS about:
    “Heat and Eat” and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Massachusetts
    . www.masslegalservices.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  4. What the SNAP Cuts Mean for Massachusetts. www.gbfb.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.