FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As SNAP Emergency Allotments Expire, The Greater Boston Food Bank Launches Annual Spring for Meals Fundraising Campaign
Delta Air Lines and Boston Scientific to Match Donations Made in March
BOSTON, MA – (March 2, 2023) – March is National Nutrition Month, and The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is kicking off its annual “Spring for Meals” fundraising campaign to distribute more nutritious fruits and vegetables to those in need, all of whom are facing higher grocery prices and many will see the end of increased COVID-era Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Now through March 31, Delta Air Lines and medical device manufacturer, Boston Scientific, will graciously match donations up to $75,000, doubling the impact of gifts and enabling GBFB and their network of 600 hunger-relief partners across Eastern Massachusetts to purchase and distribute 29 million pounds of fresh produce, which will make up over 30% of the food distributed by GBFB this year. As so many area residents rely on food pantries for essential nutrients, the campaign comes as part of GBFB’s ongoing commitment to promoting healthy communities through providing highly nutritious dietary staples and the importance of addressing food insecurity’s intersection with chronic diet-related disease.
The SNAP Emergency Allotments that kept food-insecure families and individuals fed throughout record-high levels of food insecurity expired in February, and GBFB expects food insecurity and the strain on hunger-relief organizations served by GBFB to escalate in response. GBFB’s 2022 research found that 84% of respondents worried about being able to afford enough food if the increased SNAP benefits were to stop, and 47% of respondents reported having to visit food pantries less often due to increased SNAP benefits during the pandemic.
“Without immediate action and meaningful assistance, those without consistent access to nutritious and consistent healthy food will continue to suffer,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. “The issue of hunger is as urgent as ever, as we are still seeing spikes in the prices of everyday nutritious staples like eggs and produce as the critical safety net of increased SNAP benefits comes to an end. As focus shifts away from the detriments of the pandemic, despite national attention from the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, we cannot forget that deep-rooted food insecurity still persists in its wake.”
The month-long Spring for Meals campaign is launched on the heels of GBFB’s Food is Health fundraising event, held on Wednesday, March 1 at The Klarman Building, the new Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center inpatient facility on Francis Street. Healthcare, nutrition and business professionals joined GBFB for an evening elevating the importance of nutrition in overall health and efforts to reduce hunger and diet-related diseases. The short speaking program featured Dr. Kevin Tabb, president and CEO at BILH; Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO; Dr. Jacob Mirsky, Medical Director at MGH Revere Food Pantry; Billie Jo Caceres, MGH Revere Food Pantry patient; and Dr. Allen Hamdan, GBFB Board of Directors member and Associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.
“Almost 10 years ago, as a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital just a few blocks away, I became acutely aware of the connection between food and chronic disease,” said Dr. Jacob Mirsky, Medical Director of the MGH Revere Food Pantry. “I saw firsthand how nutrition and hunger played a critical role in the health of patients, and I knew that we needed to find a better way to prevent and treat chronic disease by prioritizing access to healthy food.”
Longtime patient of the MGH Revere Food Pantry, Billie Jo Caceres added, “Over the years I have struggled with my weight, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and through the food pantry, they have helped me incorporate healthier foods into my diet. I wouldn’t be able to afford the fruits and vegetables that are given to me each week. And if it wasn’t for them showing me how to use these foods, I never would’ve tried them.”
The Food Bank’s Nutrition Team, comprised of two registered dietitians, works closely with its Food Acquisition and Community Impact teams to source and distribute nutrient-rich and culturally responsive food to the 190 Eastern Massachusetts communities GBFB serves. In fact, 96% of all distributed food that GBFB’s dietitians rank met our high nutritional standards according to a food bank nutritional ranking system based on levels of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
This month, GBFB is calling on individuals and communities across the state to help us unleash the power of produce by donating at GBFB.org or start a team to fundraise alongside friends, family or colleagues. Those in need of help are encouraged to visit GBFB.org/need-food for informational resources and food assistance programs.
About The Greater Boston Food Bank
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. As the food bank feeding Eastern Massachusetts in 190 towns across the region, GBFB is distributing the equivalent of nearly 90 million meals through a network of 600 dedicated food distribution partners and programs. A member of the national Feeding America network, GBFB’s mission is to end hunger here. The organization remains committed to the belief that access to healthy food is a human right regardless of an individual’s circumstances. Through policy, partnerships, and providing free, nutritious, and culturally responsive food, GBFB is committed to addressing the root causes of food insecurity while promoting racial, gender and economic equity in food access. For more information and to help us help others, visit us at GBFB.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@gr8bosfoodbank) and Instagram, or call us at 617.427.5200.
VP, Communications and Public Affairs