(BOSTON– June 26, 2014) Partners HealthCare is helping provide nutritious meals to more than 12,000 low-income children a day in the Greater Boston Area over the summer. Working in partnership with the Child Nutrition Outreach Program and Project Bread, Partners is awarding $35,000 to Summer Food Service Program locations in 9 communities including Boston, Brighton, Dorchester, Haverhill, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Waltham, and West Roxbury.
More than 363,000 children across Massachusetts qualify for free or low-cost school meals. When school ends for the year, the Summer Food Service Program works to ensure these children have continued access to nutritious meals. The program provides free meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines to all children 18 years old and under, specifically at approved Summer Food Service Program sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.
This summer, more than 50,000 children will enjoy a healthy breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner at one of more than 600 summer meal sites across the state, including in schools, parks, public pools and neighborhood centers. The award recipients for this year’s Partners HealthCare grant are: Haverhill Boys and Girls Club; Haverhill Public Schools; Salem Public Schools; Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts; Waltham Boys & Girls Club; BCYF Gallivan Community Center; Boston Centers for Youth & Families; Courageous Sailing Center for Youth; St. Stephen's Youth Programs; Wang YMCA; Fourth Presbyterian Church; South Boston Basketball Academy, Inc.; East Boston YMCA; Oak Square YMCA; Dorchester YMCA; Bird Street Community Center; West Roxbury YMCA; and Revere Public Schools.
“We are committed to addressing the social factors of health, including hunger. We are very fortunate to continue our work with Project Bread on the Summer Food Service Program,” said Matt Fishman, vice president for community health at Partners HealthCare. “This program helps keep thousands of children and families well-nourished during the busy summer months. It is a privilege to be part of a program that positively impacts the health of those living in the communities we serve.”
According to Project Bread’s 2013 Status Report on Hunger, 11.4 percent of Massachusetts households cannot confidently predict where their next meal is coming from. By providing free, nutritious meals throughout the summer, the SFSP ensures that every child has access to the food they need to go to school ready to learn. And that is why Child Nutrition Outreach Program and Project Bread work with community partners and sponsors such as Partners HealthCare to boost, strengthen, and expand the SFSP.
“We are so grateful to Partners HealthCare for its continued, generous support of the Summer Food Service Program,” said Ashley Krebs, director of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program. “Without them, we would not be able to provide this vital service to the thousands of children throughout Massachusetts who just want to focus on being kids and not spend their time worrying about when they’ll be able to eat again.”
Most SFSP sites open by July 1 and all run until mid-August. Parents, guardians, and teens can get a complete list of programs across the state by calling Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 or by going to www.projectbread.org/summermeals. Through Project Bread’s Text 4 Food campaign, students can also be directed to a free meal at the nearest open Summer Food Service Program by texting 617‐863‐6325.
About Partners HealthCare
Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
About Partners Community Health
Partners Community Health leads the organization-wide commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of low-income and vulnerable populations. Our commitment to the community is the largest of any health care provider in Massachusetts, representing over 80 programs benefiting 115,000 people. Partners Community Health works closely with Partners hospitals, 21 licensed and affiliated community health centers serving more than 350,000 patients, and local organizations to enhance health care access for patients, increase economic opportunity, and improve the health of communities through prevention initiatives and by addressing longstanding health disparities.
About Project Bread
Project Bread is the only statewide anti-hunger organization committed to providing people of all ages, cultures, and walks of life with sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food. From community-based meal programs, to early childhood and school nutrition initiatives, to improved access to farm-to-table resources, Project Bread approaches hunger as a complex problem with multiple solutions. With funds raised through The Walk for Hunger and other sources, Project Bread pioneers innovative initiatives and supports effective programs to eradicate hunger in our state. For more information, visit www.projectbread.org, www.facebook.com/projectbread, or www.twitter.com/walkforhunger.
About the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, sometimes referred to as the Massachusetts Department of Education, is the state education agency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is responsible for public education at the elementary and secondary levels, and is governed by the Massachusetts Board of Education. For more information, visit www.doe.mass.edu.