The Real Cost of Hunger in Massachusetts This spring, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) launched its “Families for Impact” volunteer series, allowing parents with young children to involve the entire family in community service and learn about hunger in Eastern Massachusetts. “We believe that everyone has a role in ending hunger and we want to share that message with young kids too,” said Sharon Reilly, GBFB senior director of principal and leadership gifts. 5 Bringing Families Together for Hunger Relief While a growing body of research shows that food insecurity neg- atively impacts the health of children and adults, The Great- er Boston Food Bank (GBFB) recently supported the first study to examine the financial impact of food insecurity in our state. Conducted by the nonpartisan research organization Children’s GBFB supporters David Newbower (left) and Elly Chou Newbower (right) participated in Families for Impact with their son Milo (left) and daughter Elsa (right). HealthWatch, the study estimated the health-related cost of hunger and food insecurity in Massachu- setts to be at least $2.4 billion in 2016 alone. In the report, researchers estimat- ed healthcare, special education, and lost work time costs for condi- tions attributable to food insecuri- ty, such as pulmonary disease and Type 2 diabetes. For the first time at GBFB, children as young as 5 years old were able to par- ticipate in food sorting projects. The inaugural event took place on Saturday, April 7, when 12 families participated in a hands-on volunteer session sorting and boxing nearly 15,000 pounds of bread and watermelons for distribution. Scott and Amy Friedman, longtime GBFB supporters from Wellesley, brought their two sons, Ben, 9 and Alex, 7, to volunteer. “We want our children to recognize that food insecurity is something that happens right here in Massachusetts, and we’re all responsible to ensure that no person goes hungry,” Scott said. “As Ben and Alex get older, they should know they can play an active role in making our communities better for everyone.” “After my divorce a few years ago, I was forced to live on a limited income. I was worried about affording my rent, food, medicine and other necessities. I was worried how I would live. Ten years ago my doctor diagnosed me with diabetes, which I’ve been managing without medicine. I do my best to eat less bread and more fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve been able to do that because of The Greater Boston Food Bank. Without them, I could not afford the food I need to stay healthy.” - Jean, 75, of Brockton, gets food from the GBFB Brown Bag program at her senior apartment building and Catholic Charities food pantry, a GBFB member agency. “Even more staggering than the costs measured in this study is the fact that it is an avoidable prob- lem. There’s no reason anyone in our state should go hungry,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. “Everyone deserves the chance to reach their full potential. And lack of food should never be the reason they can’t.” The study recommends a number of public and private sector mea- sures to help alleviate food inse- curity, such as screening patients for food insecurity at healthcare centers and strengthening federal food assistance programs. To learn more about this study and its recommendations, visit macostofhunger.org. Since Project Just Because obtained the new equipment, the size of its monthly food order from GBFB has nearly tripled. The pantry now also distributes food every other week as opposed to once a month. “I’m very grateful to GBFB for being there,” she said. Cherylann recounted a story of a young mother who recently came into the pantry for the first time and was surprised to find out she could take home food like turkey, eggs and potatoes. “She teared up and told me ‘this is going to make a differ- ence in my life’,” Cherylann said. Your Help Keeps Hopkinton Healthy Project Just Because food pantry has been serving those in need in Hopkin- ton for the past 19 years. It was only this year, however, with help from the town of Hopkinton and The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), that the pantry has been able to share nutritious perish- able items with those struggling with hunger. The pantry’s president, Cherylann Lambert-Walsh, Photo courtesy of Project Just Because said that in conversations with those getting food at the pantry, what they wanted most was the perishable food that is often too expensive in grocery stores. “The goal of this project is to give people more food and meet the nutritional and food needs of our clients,” Chery- lann said. With grant money from the town, the pantry was able to purchase a commercial-size freezer and refrigerator last winter, so it could store fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy items. The pantry also recently received grant fund- ing from GBFB to purchase equipment such as shelving, bins and carts. Boston Scientific Invests in the Community As The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) raises awareness of food inse- curity as a public health issue, it’s important to have supporters invested in our vision. Boston Scientific, a global medical device com- pany headquartered in Marlborough, has been a supporter of GBFB for over a decade, generous- ly investing in our work providing nutritious food to those who need it most. “At Boston Scientific we are passionate about helping people live healthier lives. Reduc- ing food insecurity is an important way to do that—when people are hungry, it’s hard to stay healthy, and it’s especially hard for hungry children to learn and thrive,” said Wendy Carruthers, senior vice president of human resources at Boston Scientific. “Working with GBFB is one way that we invest in the health of our neighboring communities here in Eastern Massa- chusetts.” Boston Scientific has sup- ported GBFB since 2006. In that timeframe, Boston Scientific employees have volunteered 650 hours at GBFB and the company has donated $350,000— enough to provide for over 1 million healthy meals. “We are grateful to have a partner like Boston Sci- entific who recognizes the GBFB.org/get-involved LEARN MORE AT Everyone has a role in ending hunger in our community.® 4 connection between hunger and health and who strong- ly supports our mission to create a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts,” said Cather- ine D’Amato, GBFB president and CEO. Boston Scientific was the Presidential Sponsor for the 2018 Festival, GBFB’s largest annual fundraiser. (L to R): GBFB Chief Financial Officer David Noymer, GBFB Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Distribution Services Carol Tienken, Mrs. Sue Mackey, Boston Scientific Executive Vice President, Global Operations Ed Mackey, and GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato Your donation makes a difference for the 140,000 people served each month by GBFB.