How to Help : Advocate
Solving hunger in eastern Massachusetts will take social and political will, greater awareness and more resources. Please contact government decision-makers, and advocate sustained and increased support for hunger-relief in our community.
Play your critical role in ending hunger in our community by learning about the issues, and joining your voice with The Greater Boston Food Bank's to advocate for sustained and increased government support of hunger-relief efforts in eastern Massachusetts, the Commonwealth and throughout the country.
Here you'll find information and resources that will keep you up to date and aware of governmental action regarding hunger in Massachusetts. We encourage you to reach out to your local political leaders, to inform and engage them to help end the growing problem of hunger in our communities.
Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program
UPDATE: May 19, 2013
We still need your help! Contact your State Senator today.
Because of your active support, the MA House budget recommendation includes increased funding for The Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) this year. However, Senate Ways and Means proposed level funding in its recommendation. Without your continued support, hunger relief agencies across the state will not receive additional funding next year. We need your help to urge MA Senators to increase MEFAP.
Contact your State Senator this week and ask him or her to support MA Senate budget amendment #220. This amendment, sponsored by Senators Clark, Rosenberg, DiDominico, Downing and Welch, supports necessary additional funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP), state budget line item DAR 2511 – 0105. Without this increase in funding for MEFAP, the line item will provide 356,194 fewer meals in 2014.
This state budget line item provides food to 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across the Commonwealth. Please ask your MA State Senator to increase funding to $16 million, enough to provide an estimated 15.8 million meals to residents of the Commonwealth next year.
Please call your Senator before Wednesday, May 15, 2013.Use these talking points to support your request:
- MEFAP is a reliable source of staples such as meat, eggs, milk and fresh produce for vulnerable populations, including seniors and children.
- In addition, MEFAP dollars go back into the Massachusetts economy - supporting local growers and manufacturers.
- More than 800,000 people across Massachusetts utilize the state's emergency food assistance network. The additional funding will help the food bank coalition of Massachusetts provide more nutritious food to those who need it most.
The MEFAP advocacy season begins in January,when the governor releases the next year's budget proposal. We then focus on the House as the Ways and Means Committee creates its version of the budget, followed by an amendment process, before the House of Representatives releases a formal budget recommendation. The Senate then follows the same process to come up with its recommendation. The entire process lasts through June. We appreciate your support throughout the advocacy season. Click here for more detailed information on the Massachusetts budget process.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Commodity foods supplied via The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which is administered by the USDA, accounts for almost a quarter of the food The Greater Boston Food Bank distributes. These nutritious USDA foods are a key reason that The Food Bank has been able to feed more people during the recession and its aftermath.
However, a very strong market for agricultural commodities and cutbacks to the federal government budget threaten to significantly reduce the amount of food we receive through this program. A 20% cut in TEFAP would be 1,672,765 pounds, or the equivalent of almost 1.3 million meals available to people in eastern Massachusetts alone. While we understand the need to balance the budget, we do not think forcing low-income Americans to bear the burden is the way to do it.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to urge them to protect TEFAP so that people in need across our Commonwealth can have enough food to eat. You can look up your U.S. Representative and Senators at www.wheredoivotema.com. You also can reach them through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121.
Tell them that you are a constituent and provide them with the name of the town in which you live.
Here are some talking points:
- Please support programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) that provide food assistance to hungry Americans. Please vote against any cuts to this program and please work to restore these funds. Cutting safety-net programs like TEFAP is not the way to balance the budget. Instead, I ask that you work with your colleagues to address the deficit while safeguarding programs that protect our nation's most vulnerable citizens.
- The number of families struggling to make ends meet increased by 23 percent in the Commonwealth during the recession. With unemployment still high and the cost of food rising, the need for food assistance continues to grow. The proposed 20% reduction to TEFAP would result in 1.3 million fewer meals available to people in eastern Massachusetts alone. We need your help to protect this critical program that helps feed millions of Americans each year.
- (Thank the person for taking your call.)
Here are links to other organizations dedicated to the cause as well as links to elected officials throughout Massachusetts who may need to be alerted about a specific call for action at any given time in support of hungry citizens in our region.