Project Bread anticipates and responds to immediate needs in our communities with emergency and short-term programs — provided with dignity and kindness. We also connect people to local food resources and enable them to participate in their local food economies and the marketplace.
Community solutions are an important resource for the nearly 726,000 people across the state who struggle with food insecurity, including our most vulnerable populations — children, working-poor families, immigrants, the disabled, and seniors.
In 2017, the food insecurity rate in Massachusetts is 27% higher than it was 10 years ago.
Children make up 68% of all SNAP recipients.
As of September 2017, there were 442,934 Massachusetts households participating in SNAP.
Project Bread invests in community based programs, food pantries, health centers, food rescue organizations, farm and garden initiatives, summer meal programs, elder meal programs, our FoodSource Hotline and more—all to reach the state's most vulnerable populations: children, working poor families, immigrants, and seniors—and to bolster our local food economies.
Addressing hunger for what it is—a public health issue
Research has shown hunger affects health in profound ways. People experiencing food insecurity will get sick more often, are more likely to be hospitalized, and have higher rates of obesity, depression, and chronic illness. At every age, hunger will take a toll on physical and mental health, but for children the consequences are particularly severe.
Project Bread teams up with clinicians at community health centers across the state to diagnose hunger and prescribe solutions.
When a certain expertise is needed, doctors will refer their patient to see a specialist. For food insecurity, that specialist is Project Bread:
- Food Insecurity Screenings & Referrals. Health centers are a safe and non-stigmatizing environment. When a doctor asks about hunger, it’s a matter of health and not a question of income. By partnering with health centers to screen their patients for food-insecurity, we can provide food-assistance to those who may not otherwise seek it. And Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline counselors follow up with every patient to ensure they get connected to the resources and program they need.
- SNAP Enrollment Coordinators. SNAP provides a low-income household with reliable access to nutritious food. But for many, the application can be a difficult process. Project Bread’s SNAP Enrollment Coordinators work directly in community health centers to meet with food-insecure families and individuals, and provide the information, assistance, and advocacy they need to enroll in the program.
- Emergency Food Prescriptions. SNAP applications can take time to process, but for many, they need help right away. Project Bread provides clinicians with food vouchers to give to their patients when it is clear they need to be able to put food on the table that night.
- Subsidized CSA Shares. If you are living in a food desert, even when you have means to purchase healthy food, it’s nowhere to be found. But with CSA shares, farm fresh produce is delivered weekly right to the health center. Project Bread subsidizes the cost of a patients CSA share to give them reliable access to produce that would otherwise be difficult to afford or find.
Impact of our work: 2017
- 26 Community Health Center partners
- 1,920 emergency food prescriptions provided
- 646 follow-ups made to patients by Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline
- 1,100 subsidized CSA shares
For information on how hospitals can help those in need, download the "Hunger in the Community: Ways Hospitals Can Help" hospital handbook.
A hunger helpline for all of Massachusetts
A hunger helpline for all of Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, more than 700,000 residents are food-insecure. Adults, children, people with disabilities, elders, immigrants, and even college students— food insecurity impacts residents of all ages and backgrounds.
For many, getting the help they need can be a challenge: lack of transportation, language barriers, physical mobility limitations, fear of stigma, or simply not knowing where to turn. Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline gives Massachusetts residents a “one-stop shop” for finding comprehensive aid in over 180 languages. With no need to leave the house and confidential support, hunger help is always just a phone call away.
Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline is the only comprehensive helpline for residents anywhere in Massachusetts needing food assistance:
- Screening for SNAP eligibility. When it comes to hunger prevention, there is no federal program more effective then SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps). But many people are unaware of how or where to apply. Our Hotline Counselors screen every caller to determine if they are eligible for SNAP and help start them on the path to receiving assistance.
- Providing SNAP application assistance. Completing a federal application can be tricky for just about everyone. And SNAP’s application is no exception. Our counselors provide residents with over-the-phone assistance, whether that’s submitting the application, answering questions, troubleshooting issues, or following up with callers to ensure their benefits are approved. We ensure residents receive their maximum allowance, provide advocacy when benefits are wrongfully denied and help secure recertification.
- Connecting callers to local resources. SNAP provides a low-income household with reliable access to nutritious food. But not everyone facing food-insecurity is eligible, and for those who are the application process takes time. Our Hotline Counselors connect callers to resources available right in their communities, including food pantries, meal programs, fuel assistance, and more.
Impact of our work: 2017
29,233 calls were made to the FoodSource Hotline
Calls were made from 303/351 of Massachusetts’ cities/towns*
- 3,655 residents screened to determine SNAP eligibility
- 9,319 residents educated on how to use their HIP benefits to purchase healthy, locally grown produce (leveraging $1.7 million state-wide)
- 28,593 residents referred to local and statewide resources including: food, shelter, childcare, utilities, and healthcare
*Residents everywhere in Massachusetts are experiencing food-insecurity
Teaching residents to prepare healthy meals on a limited budget
Fresh—For Less: Weekly Free Community Healthy Cooking Demonstrations
Join Project Bread Chef Vanessa LaBranche every Thursday in The Kitchen at the Boston Public Market at 11:45am or 1pm for a weekly 45 minute cooking demonstration of a healthy, quick dish to make at home that won't break your food budget!
Attendees will learn how to prepare easy, tasty recipes that do not require much time, skill, or money to prepare and have an opportunity to sample the recipe and take it home at the end of class. Sponsored by Capital One, this class is FREE and each attendee will also go home with a complimentary grocery tote.
100 Hanover Street at Haymarket Station
class repeats at
We believe that everyone should have sustainable, reliable access to nutritious, culturally appropriate food. Working together, we actively promote and connect the most vulnerable populations in our state with established and effective anti-hunger programs in our communities.
Looking for a summer meals site close to you? Download our SummerEats app for free!
Organic produce is expensive. Local organic produce? Even pricier.
For those living on a fixed income, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and the like are simply out of the question. A tomato sold at a farmers market, for example, carries a much higher price tag than that of its grocery store equivalent, putting it “back on the shelf” for many lower-income shoppers.
Join us in our fresh approach as we work to break the cycle of hunger. We’re changing lives, with your support.