Feeding America’s 2021 Projections for Eastern MA Show Updated State of Food Insecurity as
Pandemic Recovery Continues

Eric Donovan
The Castle Group


Feeding America’s 2021 Projections for Eastern MA Show Updated State of Food Insecurity as Pandemic Recovery Continues  

BOSTON – March 31, 2021 – Feeding America this week released updated local food insecurity projections for 2020 and new projections for 2021The revisions to the 2020 projections have led to a reduction in the projected number of people experiencing food insecurity in Massachusetts and throughout the countryhowever these rates will continue well above pre-pandemic levels in 2021: at a 30% increase from 2019 levels.

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), one of 200 food banks in the Feeding America network and the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, has adapted to respond to the historic need throughout 2020 and into the new yearSince the onset of COVID-19 the GBFB network of nearly 600 food distribution partners across Eastern Massachusetts has reported, on average, a 113% increase in clients served at around 600,000 clients per month since June 2020 and continues to see this level of need despite advancements shown in food insecurity projections.

The emergency food network in Eastern Massachusetts has shown incredible resiliency and continues to adapt to best serve our neighbors in need,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. “These new projections offer detailed insight on food insecurity levels as we move past 2020 and further into the recovery stage of this pandemic. However, our agencies continue to report chronically high levels of demand for food as they continue to serve large numbers of food insecure individuals. Wknow from history that it takes a long time to recover, and we know first-hand that food insecurity remains a staggering issue throughout the Commonwealth. There is a lot of work to be done and GBFB remains committed to addressing the historic need created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The new Feeding America 2021 projections include food insecurity rates by state, food bank service area and county for both individuals and children. On the state level, Massachusetts has seen food insecurity jump from one in 12 people before COVID-19 to a projected one in 10 in 2021, a 20% increase. In Eastern MA the number of food insecure individuals increased from one in 13 to one in 10 from 2019 to 2021.

For children in Massachusetts, food insecurity is projected to increase 30%, or from one in 11 children experiencing food insecurity pre-pandemic to one in nine in 2021. In Eastern MA the child food insecurity rates were even more exaggerated, going from one in 13 in 2019 to one in nine in 2021, a 47% increase.

2021 Projected Food Insecurity Rates

Eastern Massachusetts Massachusetts
Pre COVID-19 2021 Projected Pre COVID-19 2021 Projected
People 1 in 13 (391,170) 1 in 10 (507,380) 1 in 12 (566,930) 1 in 10 (682,420)
Children 1 in 13 (81,830)  1 in 9 (120,380) 1 in 11 (120,110) 1 in 9 (156,610)

Compounding this increase in the need for food and the record setting number of unemployment claims is the fact that even before the COVID-19 crisis, Massachusetts was considered the most expensive state in the country in terms of the cost of a meal ($3.63). Eastern Massachusetts, GBFB’s service area, has the highest food costs in the state at $3.84 per meal.  

Another indicator of the state of hunger in Massachusetts is that the number of SNAP applications has risen 360% since the pandemic began. If people are in need of food, they are welcome to where they can find a list of resources and search for a food program by zip code.

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. In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, GBFB distributed the equivalent of nearly 82 million meals in 2020 through its network of 600 dedicated food distribution partners and programs in the 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts. A member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network, GBFB’s mission is to end hunger here and it is committed to providing at least three healthy meals a day to everyone in need. For more information, visit us at, follow us on FacebookTwitter (@gr8bosfoodbank) and Instagram, or call us at 617.427.5200.

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