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MEFAP Breakfast Brings Advocates Together

State legislators and local hunger-relief providers gathered last week to support increased funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) at the Food Bank Coalition of Massachusetts’  annual MEFAP Legislative Breakfast.

From left to right: Representative Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury), Catherine D’Amato, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Representative Bill Driscoll (D-Milton), Representative David Linksy (D-Natick), Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Jean McMurray, Worcester County Food Bank, Commissioner John Lebeaux, Department of Agriculture, Representative Dan Ryan (D-Charlestown), Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), Representative Gerard Cassidy (D-Brockton).

MEFAP is an item in the state budget that provides millions of dollars to the four Massachusetts food banks to purchase healthy food for the 700,000 people struggling with hunger in our state. Last year, MEFAP was funded at $17.4 million. This year, GBFB and anti-hunger advocates across the state are asking for $20 million in funding.

The breakfast featured speeches from food bankers and local policymakers on the importance of MEFAP to those struggling with hunger in Massachusetts. Speakers included GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Executive Director Andrew Morehouse, Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director Jean McMurray, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux, and House Ways and Means Committee Vice Chair Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). Watch the full speaking program here.

D’Amato led attendees in a moment of silence in recognition of Rep. Peter Kocot of Northampton, who passed away in February.

“He was a huge champion for MEFAP and was the original author [of MEFAP],” D’Amato said. “He was a giant in the House.”

Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) has stepped up this year to pick up where Rep. Kocot left off, filing an amendment for $20 million in funding in the fiscal year 2019 state budget. This funding would enable the state’s four food banks to provide 24 million healthy meals to Massachusetts families and seniors.

To show your support for MEFAP, sign on to The Greater Boston Food Bank’s petition to increase funding to $20 million.

If you would like more information about MEFAP and its importance to Massachusetts, read more on our website. If you have any further questions, please contact GBFB Senior Manager of Public Affairs Catherine Drennan at cdrennan@gbfb.org or 617-598-5067.

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