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Each year, Project Bread releases a status report on hunger in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The 2013 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts
For most of us, hunger is a fleeting need we can satisfy quickly, but hunger isn’t fleeting for 11.4% of Massachusetts’ households.

Our state’s annual report card on hunger reveals that 700,000 children and adults can’t confidently predict where their next meal is coming from—a number almost 40% higher than it was prior to the recession and almost 80% higher than at the beginning of the last decade.

Statistics are an important tool to help us gauge the need in our state, but the experiences of the people behind the numbers mean much more to Project Bread. This year’s report not only provides facts on hunger, but it also includes an inside look at people struggling with food insecurity.


Project Bread’s 2013 Status Report was based on data from the following sources.

  • Allegretto, S., Doussard, M., Graham-Squire, D., Jacobs, K., Thompson, D., Thompson, J., Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry, U.S. Berkeley Labor Center, 2013.
  • American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2012;
  • Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Food Security Among Households With Working-Age Adults With Disabilities, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Report No. 144, January 2013.
  • Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Carlson, S., Household Food Security in the United States in 2011, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Report No. 058, September 2012.
  • Coleman-Jensen, A., Nord, M., Singh, A., Household Food Security in the United States in 2012, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Report No. 155, September 2013;
  • Economic Independence Calculator, Crittenton Women’s Union,
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FY13 Fair Market Rent values.
  • Map the Meal Gap: Highlights of Findings for Overall and Child Food Insecurity 2011, Feeding America, 2013.
  • Shepard, D., Setren, E., and Cooper, D., Hunger in America: Suffering We Are All Paying For, Center for American Progress, October 2011.
  • Spotlight on Senior Hunger 2011, Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, 2013.
  • U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 2013.
  • Who is Affected by the Minimum Wage? Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, January 18, 2013.

Findings & Recommendations


  • 11.4% of all households in Massachusetts, or 700,000 people are still struggling with food insecurity
  • Food insecurity is up nearly 40% from before the recession began and almost an 80% increase from the start of the last decade
  • 200,000 children in Massachusetts have a parent who makes less than $11 an hour
  • 16.5% of Massachusetts children live in food insecure households
  • In 2010, researchers estimated that the healthcare cost of hunger in the United States was $103.5 billion


  • Broaden the focus of philanthropic support for antihunger work to include systemic solutions, such as universal access to healthy school food, and high-impact local solutions like community gardens, food co-ops, urban agriculture, and food hubs.
  • Develop a systems perspective on the investments we make to end hunger, grounded in the strength, creativity, and resiliency of individuals and communities. Continue to build the case for investments that help individuals, that build community, and that create value for the local economy.
  • Involve residents and local leaders in prioritizing the allocation of resources within food-insecure communities.
  • Advocate vigorously to retain SNAP (food stamps) as an entitlement program, recognizing it as an irreplaceable source of assistance to foodinsecure people and an important source of revenue for grocery stores across Massachusetts.
  • Provide leadership, technical assistance, and resources to support the capacity of schools across the state to serve healthy meals that children like to eat. Promote the purchase of locally grown products as a direct investment in our regional economy.
  • Maintain locally based emergency food programs, and explore options that provide the opportunity for participants to give back in return for help.
  • Support and expand food rescue — reclaiming healthy food as a sustainable and environmentally positive way to provide no- and low-cost nutritious community meals.
  • Explore new opportunities for citizens of the Commonwealth to work together on the interconnected challenge of ending hunger and building a more robust and sustainable food system in the state and across New England.
Charts & Graphs