The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) has a goal to create a Hunger-Free Eastern Massachusetts by 2028. As the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, the food bank 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 the food bank, 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 are children.
Each year, GBFB distributes more than 60 million pounds of food through 530 partner organizations across 190 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts. 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 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.
“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.”
“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 GBFB has a three-pronged plan to end hunger:
- Build and strengthen the capacity of the network of partner organizations to more efficiently and effectively get food to people in need;
- Increase the percentage of healthy and nutritious food distributed;
- Lead and support public policy and research initiatives to support the capacity of our network and increase access to nutritious food while advancing the strategic direction of ending hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.
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 GBFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England. It 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. The food bank operates four direct service programs at nearly 70 sites throughout the area and serves more than 140,000 people every month in its mission to create a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts.