Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley joined Project Bread on Friday, August 16, 2019, for a visit to two of the 1,100 Summer Eats locations serving free meals to kids and teens in Massachusetts.
It’s the first week back-to-school in Massachusetts, and thanks to the Summer Eats program kids and teens across the Commonwealth were able to access nutritious meals while school was out.
Legislators and policy makers have a tremendous impact on the status of hunger in America. Which is why it’s so important to Project Bread to engage our state’s representatives in the work we are doing to address food-insecurity in Massachusetts.
The more our champions on Beacon and Capitol Hill are able to see for themselves, the harder they can advocate for policies that safeguard our basic human needs and rights—including access to an adequate diet and healthy, affordable food.
Fully understanding how critical it is for children to have access to healthy food in order to thrive, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley joined Project Bread on Friday, August 16, 2019, for a visit to two of the 1,100 Summer Eats locations serving free meals to kids and teens in Massachusetts.
Children are among the most vulnerable to hunger, and 1 in 9 kids in Massachusetts are food insecure meaning, they lack reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. School meals are essential for ensuring low-income children aren’t going without anything to eat, the summer months can leave a hunger gap. Rep. Pressley has helped bring awareness to Summer Eats as a vital resource which serves as a nutritional bridge that allows kids to cross from the summer to the beginning of school without experiencing summer hunger or learning loss.
Sustaining our children with nutritious food year-round is a matter of justice." Ayanna Pressley
Visiting two locations in her district - The East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library and the John F. Kennedy Family Service Center in Charlestown - Rep. Pressley spoke about the ways Summer Eats makes a difference in Massachusetts communities: “Sustaining our children with nutritious food year-round is a matter of justice, cognitive development, wellness, and trauma prevention. Without Project Bread and Summer Eats, children in our district who depend on free and reduced price school meals wouldn’t have access to nutritious food during the summer.”
Project Bread was able to give hands-on expertise and financial support to Summer Eats meal sites located at public libraries, farmer’s markets, housing properties, churches, and other places where kids and families naturally are during the summer. Through funding from a grant from Boston Children’s Hospital, and in collaboration with our long-time partners, the Greater Boston YMCA and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, our support helped these sites get the word out in the community and to develop creative ways to make Summer Eats locations a place kids want to go by providing some fun along with the usual staple of healthy food.
I am immensely grateful to Project Bread and Summer Eats for not only preventing food insecurity but for keeping our kids healthy.” Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Pressley engaged in some of that fun at both the East Boston Public Library and the Kennedy Family Services Center in Charlestown. In East Boston she was able to sit down and read to kids from the neighborhood who had come for a meal, and Charlestown found her helping kids build treasure boxes made from popsicle sticks. Commenting on her experience, Rep. Pressley said, “I am immensely grateful to Project Bread and Summer Eats for not only preventing food insecurity but for keeping our kids healthy – helping students return to school strong and ready to learn.”
As Project Bread continues our work to expand the free summer meals program across more communities in Massachusetts, it’s encouraging to have Rep. Pressley see first hand effective, scalable solutions to hunger at work. She’ll be able to share her experience with colleagues, and to more effectively advocate for the programs, policies, and legislation that are supportive of ending hunger in Massachusetts.
Author(s): Project Bread