PROJECT BREAD RELEASES STUDY —
Boston — November 14, 2006 — In a recently conducted study, Project Bread found that hunger has increased from 8% three years ago to 18%, driven by poverty and the high cost of living in Massachusetts. Bottom line — hunger has more than doubled in Massachusetts’s low-income communities.
Today, Project Bread released results from its annual Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts (, 1.88MB) at a State House legislative briefing, hosted by the Children’s Caucus. The study also shows that 32% of households in low-income communities are at high risk of hunger and more than half of those households actually experience hunger. In addition to the study’s results, Project Bread also presented new and proven strategies to overcome this growing problem.
“In low-income communities in Massachusetts the prevalence of hunger has reached a new high — more than double what it was just three years ago. Across the state, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who are at-risk for hunger — a population that would fill the cities of Lawrence, Worcester, and Springfield,” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread.
“The link between hunger and poor health is clearer today than ever before,” continued Ms. Parker. “In light of this new understanding, it’s time to recognize hunger for what it is — a serious public health problem affecting low-income people. The solutions must be targeted and systematic.”
“These findings call for a Campaign to End Hunger,” continued Ms. Parker. “The emergency response we have in place does important work, but this largely volunteer effort to feed people does not offer a long-term solution to the problem of hunger. Today, we’re calling for a new and systematic approach that actually has a chance of ending hunger, not just alleviating it. This would take proven strategies for solving hunger, which Project Bread has developed over the past four years, to scale throughout the state.
“We have learned, through our collaborations with legislators, mayors, school superintendents, academic institutions, business leaders, and health care providers — as well as through the annual Walk for Hunger, which mobilizes 40,000 concerned citizens to do their part — that a broad-based commitment exists to end hunger in the Commonwealth,” said Ms. Parker.
Project Bread’s report outlines how Massachusetts can improve access to healthy food by maximizing the use of existing federal nutrition programs. “By not fully utilizing these programs, Massachusetts is failing to protect vulnerable children, families, and senior adults from hunger, and missing an opportunity to capture hundreds of millions of available federal nutrition dollars,” said Parker.
Project Bread’s recommendations include:
“This important report highlights the urgency with which we must approach the challenge of hunger in Massachusetts,” said Senator Thomas M. McGee, Senate chair of the Children's Caucus. “I applaud Project Bread for its diligent efforts in combating this complex problem. Although this report makes it clear that hunger in the Commonwealth is a worsening problem, we can be proud of accomplishments made during the last budget cycle, and look forward to aggressively pursuing solutions during the next legislative session. I thank Project Bread for this excellent analysis, for its many innovative proposals, and I look forward to working effectively with them during the upcoming legislative session.”
About Project Bread
As the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Project Bread advocates systemic solutions that prevent hunger and that provide food to families in natural, everyday settings, including schools. Over the last four years, the organization has invested $2 million in grants to community organizations that feed children where they live, learn and play. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, Project Bread also provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to 400 emergency food programs in 135 communities statewide.