Governor Charlie Baker visited The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) on June 11 to unveil a new state program to help promote food security and see GBFB in action as we work to meet the rising need for food in our communities.
Every month since March, GBFB has set a new record for our all-time highest monthly distribution total. From March 2020 to May 2020, GBFB distributed more than 27 million pounds of food, 50 percent more than over the same period last year. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and historic unemployment, it’s estimated that food insecurity has increased 59 percent in Eastern Massachusetts and is now affecting 1 in 8 people in our area.
“We recognize that this crisis has made things more difficult for families that were food insecure and has obviously increased the need,” Baker said. “By supporting projects that increase the resilience of the Commonwealth’s food supply chain, we can ensure that families across the Commonwealth, especially vulnerable populations, have greater access to important nutritional resources.”
Baker announced the $36 million Food Insecurity Grant Program designed to increase capacity at food distributors across the Commonwealth and help farmers, retailers and fisheries provide greater access to food. The program is accepting grant applications until Sept. 15.
Food security has long been a priority for our administration. But this emergency has only heightened the importance of this issue, and of the vital work done by leaders in this space like the @Gr8BosFoodBank.
Great to tour GBFB’s facility and spotlight their incredible work. pic.twitter.com/qrfdwqjwgb
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) June 11, 2020
The grant is part of $56 million in state funding to combat this current food insecurity crisis, which includes $5 million increase in funding for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which doubles SNAP recipients purchasing power when buying fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, $3 million in immediate relief to state food banks and $12 million for food boxes for families.
Baker was joined at GBFB by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides and GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato.
“We applaud your commitment, Governor, along with our legislature to address food insecurity at this time and in this way. It is the momentum we all need to make Massachusetts a Food Secure State,” said D’Amato.
GBFB has gone from spending $60,000 a month on food to now more than $3 million a month during this pandemic. Even with increased state support, your donations are needed now more than ever to help us get food to those who need it most. Go to gbfb.org/covid-19 to learn how you can help.
Watch Governor Baker’s Full Press Conference: