2023 was a year of change in Massachusetts – we welcomed a new gubernatorial administration and celebrated historic legislative and budget wins to combat hunger. But as the cost of living in the Bay State surges, the need throughout our network of food distribution partners across Eastern MA heightens. One in three of our neighbors faces food insecurity, and The Greater Boston Food Bank and our network of advocates have met the urgency of the moment with relentless energy to ensure our neighbors have enough food to put on their tables today and to address the underlying causes of hunger and poverty through policy change.
Here’s a look at what we’ve achieved together in 2023:
- We celebrated the inauguration of Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll at TD Garden.
- We hosted an event with State House News Service/MASSterList, featuring anti-hunger leaders from across the state, for a discussion on how Massachusetts can end hunger by 2030 through advancing the national strategy outlined at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
- We welcomed Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley for a visit to our warehouse and conversation on hunger in the Commonwealth and hunger-relief policy solutions.
- We hosted the USDA, New England-area food banks, and Food and Nutrition Services New England Regional Office for a dialogue about our federal nutrition programs.
- Together with GBFB agency partner, Dwelling House of Hope, we welcomed Governor Healey for a tour of the Lowell food pantry and conversation on the state of hunger in this community and beyond.
- The MA Hunger Free Campus Coalition, led by GBFB, held a lobby day at the statehouse to advance college hunger policy solutions.
- We joined GBFB agency partner, the Brookline Food Pantry, in welcoming Congressman Jake Auchincloss for a tour of the pantry and discussion on the state of hunger and federal policy priorities.
- We briefed the Massachusetts Congressional delegation on GBFB’s third annual statewide study on Food Equity and Access, which found that one in three of our neighbors are experiencing food insecurity, with disproportionate impacts on Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ neighbors.
- We submitted testimony in support of School Meals for All (H.603/S.261) so that all K-12 students will permanently receive school meals at no cost to them.
- We welcomed Stefano Mancini, who joined our Public Affairs team through the Congressional Hunger Center’s Emerson National Hunger Fellowship.
- We submitted testimony in support of:
- Members of the MA Hunger Free Campus Coalition, led by GBFB, met with Department of Higher Education Commissioner Noe Ortega and conducted lobby meetings with legislators for a College Hunger Awareness Day. GBFB’s Vice President of Communication and Public Affairs, Catherine Lynn, provided oral testimony before the Joint Committee on Higher Education in support of “An Act establishing the Hunger Free Campus Initiative” (H.1293/S.835).
- We held our 18th annual Chain of Giving! Governor Healey, Boston Mayor Wu, elected officials, and friends passed 1,000 holiday turkeys through our warehouse and demonstrated our community’s commitment to tackling hunger.
- We celebrated the passage of the Child and Family Tax Credit, a simplified and expanded tax credit for low-income families that gave Massachusetts the strongest family tax credit in the country, and submitted testimony to make the Child and Family Tax Credit even stronger and apply to more families across the state.
- We celebrated the passage of Universal School Meals with our coalition partners and state leaders at Fenway Park.
- Kate Adams, Public Policy Manager, testified before the legislature’s 21st Century Agriculture Committee about partnerships between local farmers and the charitable food system.
- We welcomed House Minority Whip Katherine Clark to the First Congregational Church of Revere Food Pantry to distribute turkeys.
- The MA Hunger Free Campus Coalition met with Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll to share our request to fund the Hunger Free Campus Initiative at $4M in the FY25 state budget.
- We strategized with legislators and the Food Bank Coalition of MA to map out a strategy to advance the MA Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) in the FY25 state budget.
- We joined Feeding America in a letter to Congress urging protections for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in the upcoming farm bill.
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In 2024, we hope to build on the momentum of our victories in 2023 and to continue to advance sustainable and equitable policies in Massachusetts that respond to overlapping emergencies of affordability, housing costs, inflation, and lack of food access across the Commonwealth and center populations disproportionately affected by issues of food insecurity. We are thankful for the support of advocates across Eastern Massachusetts who stand with us in our mission to End Hunger Here.