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"I've been there, and the stress of being food insecure can affect your whole life."
Courtney Burke, Bay State Milling

When Courtney Burke, of Hull, was struggling to feed her family, she turned to Wellspring Multiservice Center for help. Little did she know then that years later as an employee of Bay State Milling, based in Quincy, she’d participate alongside her 12 year-old daughter, in an event that raises funds to support that very food pantry and hundreds of others throughout the state. Burke is happy to pay it forward for families in need.

“I think people don’t realize how many families actually struggle to put food on the table every day in Massachusetts,” says Burke. “I have been there and the stress of being food insecure can affect your whole life.”

On Sunday, May 5, Burke and more than a dozen of her Bay State Milling coworkers participated in Project Bread’s 51st Walk for Hunger to raise funds and awareness in support of the one in 10 families in the Commonwealth who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from.

Bay State Milling has partnered with Project Bread for more than 20 years in support of the nonprofit’s work to end hunger in Massachusetts.

“Despite enviable economic growth in our state, many people still struggle to obtain nutritious food for survival and, ultimately, to fuel their abilities,” says Peter F. Levangie, President & CEO, Bay State Milling. “Bay State Milling’s core purpose is focused on doing our part to make nutritious food more accessible. We do this in many ways, including our ongoing ingredient innovations. A foundational part of this commitment is our support of Project Bread’s work to address the root causes of hunger in Massachusetts, including the Walk for Hunger. We are proud of our partnership and will continue to learn from one another in our shared goal.”

To date, the company has invested $300,000 in child nutrition and improving the quality of free school meals through Project Bread’s programs. The company also often makes use of its resources, such as its test-kitchen, to host events and fundraisers for Project Bread, and is a proud Walk for Hunger sponsor.

Each year employees, like Burke, rally together to form a team to participate in the event. The company provides participating employees with fundraising incentives, hosting a kick-off lunch and offering a $1 match for every $1 that employees raise. To date, the Bay State Milling Walk for Hunger team has raised more than $120,000 for the cause.

“We usually wear matching t-shirts with the Project Bread logo on the front and Bay State Milling logo on the back,” says Burke. “Nutrition is so ingrained in our culture. Participating in the Walk for Hunger is an extension of our mission.”

With funds raised from last year’s event, Project Bread was able to provide $1 million of support for 315 community programs, including Wellspring Multiservice Center, addressing hunger in 97 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Additional targeted grants were provided to partner organizations in East Boston, Cape Cod and North Quabbin as part of an awareness campaign to show different faces of hunger, an often invisible problem. 

The Walk for Hunger is still raising funds to reach its fundraising goal for 2019. Make a donation today or donate to support a participant or team. Funds raised will provide critical support to hundreds of community based hunger relief programs including soup kitchens, food pantries, food rescue organizations and more.

Filed under: Spotlights, Building Sustainable Food Systems, News and Events, The Walk for Hunger, Grant information, For the Media, Walkers & Teams