September marks the return to school, the end of summer, and the first few leaves changing colors on trees. At The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), September also marks Hunger Action Month™— Feeding America’s annual nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness of hunger in the United States and inspire people to take action. During Hunger Action Month, advocates, supporters, and community leaders across Eastern Massachusetts and the whole United States unite in support of ending hunger in our communities.
This year, GBFB mobilized support from all our community, from testifying at the State House to advance hunger free campus legislation to supporting our partner agencies in directly distributing nutritious food to our neighbors. And the community responded with a commitment to taking action to end hunger for the one in three people in Massachusetts who face food insecurity – from lighting up iconic Boston landmarks orange to raising funds during WCVB’s annual Day of Giving. Here’s a recap of all we’ve been up to for Hunger Action Month:
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston both underscored the need to spread awareness through official proclamations in September. The Commonwealth designated September as Hunger Action Month, and the City designated September 15 as Hunger Action Day, a one-day push to catalyze engagement around Hunger Action Month. Thank you to Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, and Mayor Michelle Wu for this powerful gesture and for their commitment to supporting policies that end hunger in the Commonwealth.
Volunteers packed 335,000 healthy, non-perishable meals that were distributed to Boston-area families to honor September 11 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Boston was one of 18 cities to have a meal-packing day on September 11 in tribute, through service and volunteerism, to victims, first responders, recovery workers, military personnel, and others who answered the call.
On September 20, GBFB collaborated with WCVB to host the 5th annual Day of Giving. Throughout the day, WCVB covered the pressing issue of hunger in Eastern Massachusetts and how GBFB meets the challenge, while community members called in to support, making this the most successful Day of Giving yet! WCVB lifted up stories of how our network is tackling hunger throughout the day and ran a feature to highlight how critical the Farm Bill is to our mission at GBFB. Lucky callers heard from WCVB’s own Ed Harding directly on the line!
Missed the day? Catch up on all WCVB’s coverage here.
Throughout September, GBFB has been busy on Beacon Hill! Every year, GBFB distributes the equivalent of around 80 million meals to our community. At the same time, GBFB also supports tackling the root causes of hunger while advocating for equitable and sustainable policies that advance our mission to end hunger here. Since 2019, GBFB has been a leader in the MA Hunger-Free Campus Coalition, amplifying student voices and organizing advocacy efforts to pass the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative (S835/H1293) through the Legislature. On September 18, the Coalition testified at a hearing of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, received remarks from the Commissioner of Higher Education, Noe Ortega, and met with individual legislators in the House and Senate. This bill will support students who face food insecurity, helping them to graduate and contribute to the Commonwealth’s workforce as teachers, scientists, social workers, and more! If you missed the hearing, there’s still time to submit written testimony in support of the Hunger Free Campus Initiative.
GBFB understands that hunger has a variety of systemic causes, and so advocates for a broad range of public policies that will alleviate food insecurity. In addition to the Hunger Free Campus Initiative, this September, GBFB also joined hearings and provided testimony in favor of:
On September 15, Hunger Action Day, GBFB and our community partners mobilized to communicate the necessity of action against hunger in Eastern Massachusetts. GBFB team members wore orange virtually and in person!
GBFB team members weren’t the only ones to show off their orange! The city of Boston lit up orange for Hunger Action Day! This powerful show of solidarity demonstrated the will of our community to take on the challenge of ending hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.