Our History

From humble beginnings, we have grown into a bold, innovative solution to end hunger here to create a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts.

GBFB delivery truckDuring the Great Depression, Kip Tiernan’s grandmother opened her kitchen to feed people in need. At that time people would mark an “X” on the sidewalk outside their homes to signify a safe place to get help. Kip saw firsthand how simple acts of kindness could help people through dark times.

In 1974, Kip started to distribute food from her station wagon to those in need and later founded what we now know as The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). From these humble beginnings, we have grown into the leading hunger-relief agency in New England and one of the largest in the country.

Today GBFB provides over 109 million pounds of healthy food each year to more than 600 distribution sites across Eastern Massachusetts.

We continue to pay tribute to our history with an “X” at the main entrance of our lobby, indicating that GBFB remains a safe place to get help.

  • 1974

    Kip Tiernan starts what is now known as The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) by distributing food from the back of her station wagon.

  • 1981

    Approved articles of incorporation officially created The Greater Boston Food Bank organization.

  • 1982

    GBFB becomes a member of the America’s Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America).

  • 1995

    Catherine D’Amato, now President and CEO, joins GBFB.

  • 1999

    GBFB exceeds 100 million total pounds of food distributed.

  • 2009

    GBFB moves into our new 117,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility, the Yawkey Distribution Center.

  • 2011

    GBFB announces it will increase annual food distribution by 3.5 million pounds to provide at least One Meal a Day to everyone at risk of hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.

    GBFB launches School-based Pantry and Mobile Market programs.

  • 2013

    GBFB launches its Capacity Building Grant program to further support hunger-relief partners across Eastern Massachusetts.

  • 2015

    GBFB reaches milestone of 600 million total pounds of food distributed.

    Massachusetts joins Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and GBFB becomes the only CSFP provider in the state with caseload of 2,400 low-income seniors.

  • 2018

    Formation of the Hunger to Health Collaboratory, a cross-sector collaboration between leaders, including GBFB, dedicated to reducing the health consequences of hunger.

  • 2020

    GBFB distributes more than 100 million pounds of food in the calendar year for the first time in its history to meet the historic demand for food as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Breakfast After the Bell is signed into law to alleviate childhood hunger and ensure more kids start school with a healthy breakfast. Rise and Shine Massachusetts, a statewide coalition led by GBFB, was instrumental in advocating for the bill since it was originally introduced in 2017. 

  • 2021

    GBFB distributes its 1 billionth pound of food in its history. 

    GBFB conducts the first state-wide food insecurity study in Massachusetts during COVID-19 and develops the ‘Gaps in Food Access’ report.

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