A Word from Our Public Policy Manager on Hunger Action Month

Published on September 6, 2023

Public Policy and Advocacy are key components of GBFB’s mission to end hunger here across Eastern Massachusetts. Hunger Action Month is a time of year when this work is in focus and to share a bit more about our Government Relations Team, led by Kate Adams, Public Policy Manager. 

What I love about my job as Public Policy Manager at The Greater Boston Food Bank is that I’m not only advancing public policy that helps us provide food for 600,000 neighbors across Eastern MA every month, but I also get to explore how we can leverage data and expertise to end food insecurity through sustainable policy actions that address the root causes of food insecurity and poverty.  

While meeting the immediate needs of our communities are critical, our policy and advocacy strategy aims to expand economic opportunity and stability, increase food access and affordability, and strengthen food system infrastructure and coordination so we don’t have nearly 2 million children, students, parents, neighbors in Massachusetts going without the nutrition they need to thrive, many of them relying on our charitable food distribution partner agencies to fill the gaps. “I’m essentially running myself out of a job,” is how I sometimes describe my work with GBFB. 

GBFB Policy Manager poses with GBFB Warehouse Employees

It’s been exciting to work in this space in Massachusetts this past year. Hunger and poverty relief leaders and food access groups across the state have been convening to develop and carry out a coordinated strategy to end hunger in the Commonwealth after the first-in-50-years White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health last fallThanks to strong advocacy by many and a legislature and new Governor who responded to the call, Massachusetts became the eighth state to make school meals for all kids permanent. The team at GBFB was pleased to see significant hunger-relief investments in the recently passed FY24 state budget, including support for the Hunger Free Campus Initiative that GBFB leads and the MA Emergency Food Assistance Program that helps us by food (from local farmers and food businesses, at that).  Many of these investments will have long-term impacts and are urgently needed to address issues of affordability, equity, and income inequality in Massachusetts. 

GBFB Policy Manager giving advocacy/policy speech

Working in hunger relief policy is a bit like planting seeds and watching them grow. Creating policy change can be a slow process, even if you take all the right steps at the right time. But finally seeing the impact of policy in my community—hearing from parents on tight budgets how important free school meals for their kids are, or speaking with a food pantry director about how much their guests appreciate fresh produce from MEFAPreminds me how important it is to keep planting those seeds of change now. 

We need the continued help of our GBFB supporters so that we can keep advancing public policy efforts and respond to the current urgent need in our community The high cost of living in Massachusetts leaves many neighbors making tradeoffs between paying for housing, prescriptions, utilities, and other basic needs versus putting food on the table. This is compounded by the fact that we are facing cuts to federal programs like SNAP (nutrition benefits) and TEFAP (major USDA food source for food banks). At the same time, our network of food pantry partners continue to report elevated numbers of neighbors turning to their food pantries for the first time, and research demonstrates 1 in 3 people experienced food insecurity in the past year in Massachusetts.  

This is why your support matters. We all have a role to play in ending hunger across Massachusetts. How can you help? September is Hunger Action Month. We urge you to advocate, donate, volunteer in your local community. Stay in touch and learn more about how you can join our mission. We can’t feed Eastern Massachusetts without you

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