Boston, MA, May 18, 2019 – The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) announced today its goal to create a Hunger Free Eastern Massachusetts by 2028. As the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, GBFB is uniquely positioned to accomplish this goal and has already begun its efforts.
Each month approximately 140,000 individuals eat food that has come from GBFB, according to Feeding America, the national hunger-relief organization of which GBFB is a member. One in 11 people in our Commonwealth is food insecure, and one in nine children is food insecure.
Each year, GBFB distributes more than 60 million pounds of food through 530 partner organizations across 190 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts. In 2018, more than 60 percent of food distributed was fresh protein, produce and dairy – nearly one-third of which was fresh produce.
GBFB estimates that reaching hunger free (meaning any individual needing food will have access to enough for three nutritious meals a day) will take 10 years, $50 million, and the commitment of cross-sector partners from the food industry, corporations, government, philanthropy and others, each bringing their monetary and leadership resources to bear on the problem. As part of its Hunger Free campaign, GBFB will step up its efforts of acquiring and distributing healthy food and expects that by 2028, 80 million pounds will be needed to provide three healthy meals a day across Eastern Massachusetts. GBFB also will work to maximize enrollment and increase benefits in key federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program and school meals, while also targeting the root causes of hunger by increasing wages.
There are challenges to overcome in Massachusetts. The state holds the unenviable distinction of being the most expensive state in the nation relative to cost of food. The Commonwealth is also among the highest in cost of living with a median household annual income of $77,385 according to published reports. Yet, more than 600,000 people across Massachusetts are hungry according to the recent 2019 Map the Meal Gap.
“At GBFB, we are fully committed to ending this chronic problem,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. “This commitment is unwavering but the one thing we are sure of is that we cannot do it alone. Our plan for a Hunger-Free Eastern Massachusetts includes leading a broad cross section of partners and collaborators who share our vision.”
In addition to its strategic goal to end hunger, GBFB is also redoubling its commitment to access to healthy food and creating sustainable solutions based on research that shows a connection between nutrition and improved health outcomes. Our Health and Research team, including two registered dietitians and an epidemiologist, and our newly implemented Nutrition Policy will guide these commitments.
“Last year, GBFB partnered with Children’s HealthWatch on a study that found the health-related cost of hunger on the Massachusetts economy to be $2.4 billion,” D’Amato said. “We know that nutritious food is the cheapest and most immediate health intervention that exists, and our campaign will enable us to significantly increase sustained access to healthy, nutritious food.”
The Greater Boston Food Bank has a three-pronged plan to end hunger:
Of the estimated $50 million needed to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts, GBFB will contribute $11.5 million that will be raised through a targeted campaign. To date, $4.5 million has been raised.
The campaign to make Eastern Massachusetts Hunger Free by 2028 was officially launched on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at FreshFest, GBFB’s annual signature fundraising event held in the 117,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center that was transformed for the evening’s gala festivities. This announcement was in conjunction with celebrating the 10th anniversary of the South Bay Avenue building.
Watch GBFB’s Hunger Free 2028 video here:
To learn more visit www.gbfb.org/hungerfree28
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 provides the equivalent of 50 million healthy meals annually distributed through its network of 530 member agencies in the 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts. GBFB operates four direct service programs at nearly 70 sites throughout the area. A member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network, GBFB serves more than 140,000 people every month in its mission to create a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts. For more information, visit us at GBFB.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or call us at 617.427.5200.