Boston, MA – With today’s deliveries, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) reached a significant milestone in its 34 year history. Since opening its doors in 1981, GBFB has distributed in excess of 600,000,000 pounds of food to millions of people through its 550 member agencies located in 190 Eastern Massachusetts cities and towns. This landmark event reflects the tremendous need in GBFB’s service area which covers 70% of the state— north to Gloucester, south to the Cape and the Islands and west to Worcester— where as many as one in nine residents, including working adults, the elderly, college students and veterans remain food insecure. The demand for food support continues to increase as income disparities make it difficult for working adults to make ends meet and more baby boomers are turning to hunger relief agencies for help.
Research indicates that there are multiple factors contributing to the increase in need. The Feeding America Report, Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After Fifty confirms that more and more older Americans are relying on hunger relief agencies. Many low-income adults between the ages of 50 and 64 are often at risk of food insecurity because they are not yet eligible for safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security. Equally important, the recently released International Monetary Fund study, Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective looks at the widening income gap, calling it the worst since the 1920s. Income inequality is on the rise throughout the United States, with metropolitan areas experiencing the most significant disparities. A recent report issued by the Brookings Institution ranks Boston as having the third highest rate of income inequality among America’s 50 largest cities.
In 2013, GBFB was the first food bank in the New England region to exceed the half-billion pound mark. Before moving to its 117,000 square foot Yawkey Distribution Center in Boston’s Newmarket District in 2009, GBFB distributed as much as 27 million pounds of food annually. In recent years, that number has grown to more than 50 million pounds of fresh produce, chicken, beef and other lean protein and dietary staples like milk, whole grains and beans.
According to GBFB President and CEO, Catherine D’Amato, it takes substantial contributions from the community and corporations, a dedicated staff, state-of-the-art tools and facilities and an army of volunteers to acquire, store, sort and distribute 600,000,000 pounds of food. “Our current building nearly doubles the square footage of our former home at 99 Atkinson Street. Equally important, GBFB employs new technologies that allow us to identify the areas of greatest need and streamline the way we source, secure and distribute food. We reached this milestone through the generosity of our donors, the support of elected officials, the commitment of our team and volunteers and the hard work of our 550 partner agencies.”
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. GBFB distributes more than 50 million pounds of food and grocery products annually to 550 member hunger-relief agencies and more than 30 direct service programs throughout Eastern Massachusetts in a dedicated partnership to end hunger in our region. A member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network, GBFB provides meals for more than 500,000 people a year. For more information, visit GBFB.org, become a fan on Facebook, follow us onTwitter, or call us at 617.427.5200.