The leading cause of hunger in Massachusetts isn’t scarcity of food, but rather lack of living wage jobs that allow households to afford basic necessities. We also know those struggling with food insecurity often face any number systemic barriers to success and other factors out of their control. Project Bread engages our officials to strengthen critical nutrition programs while working with our partners to address the systemic causes of hunger.
Our perspective on solutions takes into account the need to strengthen the regional food system, the rights of working adults to earn a living wage, and the right for all people in Massachusetts to have access to fresh and healthy food.
If Massachusetts increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour, 18,000 households would no longer be food insecure. This represents a 7% reduction in food insecurity in the Commonwealth.
As of September 2017, there were 442,934 Massachusetts households participating in SNAP.
In 2011, 46% of fast-food workers in Massachusetts relied on $173 million in aid (SNAP, Medicaid and EITC) to meet basic expenses every month.
Changing public policies can make a substantial and positive impact in the lives of families who struggle to make ends meet. You can help influence policies that protect people from hunger by taking action on these current campaigns. You will be helping to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts can access nutritious food—a basic right!
Receive emailed action alerts and legislative updates.
As we continue to support the working families of Massachusetts, we ask you to help amplify our anti-hunger, anti-poverty work by joining the Project Bread Action Team. Your legislators want to hear from you, their constituents. Sign up to join the Action Team and we will update you via email on progress in the fight for a living wage, as well as on other relevant policies coming out of DC and Beacon Hill. When necessary we will ask you to raise your voice.
We know hunger is often silent, but together we can speak up and speak loudly.
What is the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and why is it so important to addressing childhood hunger?
What is the Child Nutrition Reauthorization?
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, the most recent version of which is the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, shapes and funds most of the child nutrition programs in the United States. Congress reviews the operation of these programs every five years.
Why does the Child Nutrition Reauthorization matter?
Project Bread closely monitors the Child Nutrition Reauthorization because, among many other things, it helped to provide over 85 million school lunches to kids across the state of Massachusetts in FY 2018.
The following programs are authorized through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act:
• The National School Lunch Program, which provides federal reimbursements for school lunches
• The School Breakfast Program, which provides federal reimbursements for school breakfasts
• The Child and Adult Care Food Program, which provides federal reimbursements for child care and adult care centers
• The Summer Food Service Program, which provides federal reimbursements for snacks and meals served to children during the summer
• The Afterschool Meal Program, which provides federal reimbursements for snacks and meals served in afterschool programs
• The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – which provides education and food packages to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children
• The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides coupons for WIC recipients to purchase produce at farmers’ markets
• The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which provides funding for fruits and vegetables to be served in low-income elementary schools
• The Special Milk Program, which provides federal reimbursements for milk
What’s happening now?
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expired on September 30, 2015. Congress did not pass a new Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act in 2015-2016. However, because the programs contained in the HHFKA are permanently authorized, subject to Congressional funding, the child nutrition programs still continue to operate today.
What Can I Do?
1. Sign-up for Project Bread’s Action Team to receive action alerts and updates on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and other nutrition programs.
2. Post on social media about the importance of SNAP using the hashtag #schoolmeals or #summereatsMA. Be sure to tag Project Bread so we can retweet or share (@projectbread)
3. Promote Summer Eats, Massachusetts name for the Summer Food Service Program. Visit www.meals4kids.org for more information and resources.
What you need to know about “public charge”
What’s going on?
On October 10th, the Trump Administration formally announced a proposed rule that will likely increase hunger, poverty and poor health among immigrants in our state and our country.
The rule centers around “public charge,” a designation placed on immigrants who are utilizing government support programs. The reliance on these support programs is evaluated when an immigrant is applying for a visa or green card.
Right now, only cash assistance and supplemental security income (SSI) are taken into account when determining “public charge.” But the proposed rule would broaden the definition of “public charge” to include use of one or more public benefits, such as:
-The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
-Non-emergency Medicaid (MassHealth)
-Low-income subsidies for prescription medication
Why does this matter?
If finalized, this rule would deter immigrants from accessing critical benefits like SNAP. It would increase fear and force people to make the impossible choice between food and family.
Food is a basic right for everyone – regardless of immigration status. At Project Bread, we work to expand access to food for families across Massachusetts. This new rule would send our country in the wrong direction – decreasing access to food and threatening the health, nutrition and future of millions of people. It is unacceptable.
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What is the Farm Bill and why is it so important to addressing hunger?
What is the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that shapes and funds most of the food and agricultural programs in the United States including large parts of our nutrition assistance programs. Congress must pass a new Farm Bill every four or five years otherwise several provisions expire.
Why does the Farm Bill matter?
Project Bread closely monitors the Farm Bill because it determines the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which currently helps over 38 million low-income Americans, including over 770,000 in Massachusetts , afford an adequate diet.
In addition to SNAP, the nutrition title of the Farm Bill also authorizes and funds:
• The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides emergency food and nutrition assistance primarily through food banks.
• Commodity Supplemental Food Assistance Program (CSFP), which provides commodity food to low-income seniors. Administrated by the food banks in Massachusetts.
• Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers markets.
• Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which provides free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day in elementary schools.
• The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, which allows states to fund programs that incentivize SNAP clients to purchase fruits and vegetables. FINI provided the funds to launch the Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) in 2017 in Massachusetts
What’s happening now?
• On December 12th, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which will protect and maintain the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the over 450,000 Massachusetts households  who rely on the program to buy enough food each month.
• The 2018 Farm Bill will also provide modest funding increases to the SNAP Education & Training and the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant.
What Can I Do?
1. Sign-up for Project Bread’s Action Team to receive action alerts and updates on the Farm Bill and other nutrition programs.
2. Post on social media about the importance of SNAP using the hashtag #SNAPMatters. Be sure to tag Project Bread so we can retweet or share (@projectbread)
Project Bread’s work in public policy and advocacy is changing the conversation around hunger in our state and beyond. And it is helping to evolve the way we, and others, approach the needs of the food insecure in Massachusetts. Together, we can elevate the voices of all of those who face hunger — and ensure their needs are met with dignity and efficacy.
Introducing the first-ever edition of The Hunger Advocate, our new bi-weekly round-up of news articles about issues that affect hunger in Massachusetts and beyond.
Restricting access to food will harm low-income individuals in our state.
SNAP, WIC, and child nutrition programs such as school meals and afterschool meals unaffected by shutdown.
The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that shapes and funds the majority of the food and agricultural programs in the United States including large parts of our nutrition assistance programs. Project Bread closely monitors the Farm Bill because it is also the bill that determines the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which currently helps over 40 million low-income Americans, including over 750,000 in Massachusetts, afford an adequate diet.
Project Bread joins Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, The Greater Boston Food Bank, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, and Worcester Country Food Bank to call upon the Governor to begin preparing a state "disaster plan" to respond to the anticipated spike in demand for emergency food should the government shutdown continue past February.
We’re changing the conversation, and changing lives. Join us.
Raise your voice to help hungry people! Sign up to receive hunger policy updates — including our biweekly news round-up, The Hunger Advocate — and learn what you can do to help.
Join us on Sunday, May 5, 2019 for the 51st Walk for Hunger & 5K Run. Raise awareness for the issue of hunger in MA and critical funds that support local solution to hunger across Massachustts.
See Project Bread's social media updates in a glance, and share your own work with us!