The Greater Boston Food Bank’s policy and advocacy team was busy this fall advancing policy change at the federal, state, and local levels. After the historic win this summer to permanently guarantee universal school meals for K-12 students in Massachusetts public schools, GBFB has continued to work to amplify the needs of the 1 in 3 Massachusetts residents experiencing food insecurity and to unite our Eastern Massachusetts community in support of policy solutions to fulfill our mission to End Hunger Here.
We kicked off the fall with Hunger Action Month— Feeding America’s annual nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness of hunger in the United States and inspire people to act. Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll designated September as Hunger Action Month, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu designated September 15 as Hunger Action Day! Check out what we were up to throughout September here.
Throughout the fall, GBFB advocated for stronger federal nutrition programs in the upcoming Farm Bill, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which provides USDA food directly to food banks, as well as the federal Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. With the risk of a government shutdown and damaging impacts on federal workers and nutrition programs, GBFB has been collaborating with state agencies and hunger-relief organizations and updating our network with the latest information. In November, we welcomed House Minority Whip Katherine Clark to our GBFB partner agency, the First Congregational Church of Revere Food Pantry, to hand out turkeys and discuss hunger in Massachusetts’ fifth district.
GBFB has taken a lead role in promoting a variety of policy solutions that will tackle hunger and poverty at their roots on Beacon Hill. Students and advocates from the Hunger Free Campus Coalition (HFCC), a statewide coalition co-led by GBFB, testified at a hearing for the Joint Committee on Higher Education, in support of “An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Hunger Free Campus Initiative” (S835 / H1293), with GBFB’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Catherine Lynn, providing oral testimony. GBFB was a key member of coalitions that advocated for the successful passage of the expanded Child and Family Tax Credit and the restoration of SNAP benefits for legally present immigrants. Additionally, Team GBFB made its voice heard by providing testimony in support of funding affordable housing options, promoting food literacy education, and expanding trucking industry training opportunities to help GBFB distribute food across Eastern Massachusetts. Read our testimony submissions and additional advocacy actions this fall here.
Along the way, we had some fun! In November, Governor Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, and many state legislators joined GBFB for our annual Chain of Giving holiday kickoff event, unloading 1,000 turkeys at our Yawkey Distribution Center to be shipped across the 190 municipalities GBFB serves.
Our work isn’t done until our neighbors no longer need to make difficult tradeoffs between food and housing, medicine, utilities, education, and other basic needs. That’s why we’re proud to leverage GBFB’s data and expertise to support solutions that will combat the root causes of hunger, food insecurity, and poverty. But we couldn’t do it without the Eastern Massachusetts community with us every step of the way. Find your role in ending hunger here through advocating, donating, and volunteering to join our mission.