Community Engagement

Investing in Our Communities

Every community is unique. So are the challenges they face for food security.

We've formed strategic partnerships with lead local organizations in ten target cities in Massachusetts, where we know we can really move the needle on hunger by lifting local solutions. We want to support our communities by leveraging their expertise to implement the solutions that best feed their needs. These partnerships enable us to listen and learn from community residents. Leveraging our partners' resources and our expertise allows us to tackle these challenges together and improve community food access for the long term.

Overview

Building our network

We launched the Community partnership grant program 2021, supporting ten community-based organizations across the state. Each of our partners was awarded a two year, $25,000 recurring grant. We engage and support them over the award years to work toward shared goals —ranging from strengthening local hunger networks to closing the SNAP gap and making federal and nutritional programs more accessible to all communities in Massachusetts.

We provide our resources and expertise in federal nutrition programs, press opportunities to elevate their work, support involvement in advocacy efforts, and share knowledge of best practices.

Through these partnerships, we are building a strong community network across the state where information, resources, and knowledge can be shared, and we can all work together break the hunger cycle.

Impact Stat Background

2021 & 2022 Impact

$616,000 invested

in partnerships to lift up local hunger solutions.

Microgrants

Furthering our impact

As we grow our networks in our target communities, we have invested an additional $66,000 in summer grants to expand our impact. In 2021, we funded ten small but powerful organizations doing critical work to connect their neighbors to needed resources.

Project Bread strives for innovation and equity in our work and seeks to be effective in our support of our community partners. In 2022 we piloted an alternative grant application process for these Community Partnership Microgrants. We opened up the options for how organizations could submit grant applications and showcase their work in whatever way they felt was authentic: through an interview, a video, or a short written statement. 

We have learned that removing barriers in the grant-making process opens the door to very thorough and fruitful work in our communities.

kids at a summer meals program Starts Line

Brockton

Brockton is the sixth largest city in Massachusetts, with over half of its population identifying as black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Brockton has wide disparities in poverty rates between its white and BIPOC neighbors. As a convener of the Brockton Area Hunger Network, United Way of Greater Plymouth County is helping to build up the capacity of key food programs for a larger collective impact. 

East Boston

Home to the largest foreign-born population of any Boston neighborhood, East Boston is also one of the fastest changing neighborhoods. As a recent target for luxury real estate development, East Boston has seen a sharp spike in cost of living with a rapidly widening income gap. To address the social determinants of health for its patients and other community members, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center operates a Community Resource and Wellness Center that connects patients with food, legal help, housing, clothing and other income supports. 

Two people sitting at a desk with papers and a computer on it. They are looking down at a piece of paper, one of them holding a pen. Starts Line

About Our Partners

Our Community Partners are plugged into—or leading—their local hunger networks and food policy councils, are improving their local food systems through farmers markets, urban farms, and community gardening, and have been working towards food justice for years.

2021 Community Partners

Brockton

My Brother's Keeper 

United Way of Greater Plymouth County

East Boston

Central Assembly of God Food Pantry

Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Eastie Farm

Everett

Everett Community Growers

Holyoke

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke

Let's Move Hampden 5210 

Salvation Army of Holyoke

Lawrence

Groundwork Lawrence

Lynn

Building Audacity

The Food Project

The Food Share Table

Mattapan

Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center

Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition 

Quincy

Quincy Community Action Programs

Randolph

​​​​​​Quincy Asian Resources

Worcester

El Buen Samaritano Food Program

Dismas House of Massachusetts

Regional Environmental Council

Worcester Families Feeding Families

Everett

Home to a diverse population, over half of Everett residents speak a language other than or in addition to English. As the only Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) vendor in Everett, Everett Community Growers provides a much-needed resource for residents to purchase affordable, locally-grown produce right from its own community gardens. It is also a leader in food access planning efforts for the city.

Image is of two woman holding plants in a park while smiling to the camera. Starts Line
Image of a man standing in front of a table with groceries on it, making a thumbs up gesture with both hands Starts Line

Holyoke

This Western Massachusetts city is home to the largest Puerto Rican population per capita of any US city outside Puerto Rico! With one of the lowest per capita family incomes in the state and limited access to healthy, affordable food, addressing childhood hunger is of paramount importance to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke. In 2020 they provided over 225,000 dinners and snacks to kids in Holyoke and are steadily expanding their reach with the construction of a state-of-the-art food hub scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.

Our Priority

Addressing inequities that contribute to food insecurity is crucial to solving hunger. We prioritize partnering with organizations who have diverse leadership teams, are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and who understand deeply the strengths and barriers of residents in their communities.

Lawrence

Still recovering from the gas explosions of 2018 when the pandemic hit in 2020, the city of Lawrence built strong community partnerships to ensure its residents — 79% of whom are Latino/a — have their basic needs met. Groundwork Lawrence is at the forefront of the community’s efforts, working at the intersection of urban planning and community engagement to improve food security through farmers markets, community gardens, a Healthy on the Block Bodega program, its newly-launched Restaurant Meal Program, and a regional food access network. 

A photo of two people harvesting lettuce from a garden and smiling into the camera with face masks on. Starts Line
Image of a person with glasses holding harvested greens over their shoulder. Their other arm is bent with the hand making a fist against their hip. They are standing in a garden and smiling towards the camera. Starts Line

Lynn

Lynn is a multicultural community with a growing refugee population and some of the highest rates of poverty in the region along with a significant grocery gap and high incidences of diet-related disease. The Food Project has listened to Lynn residents and learned that they desire a more equitable food system that reflects their diverse heritages. As a result they are working across the local food system to convene residents and partners, grow food in their farms and community gardens, and distribute it to those who need it most.

Mattapan

The Boston neighborhood of Mattapan boasts residents and community leaders who are strong advocates for ensuring the community is not “left behind.” Over 90% of Mattapan residents identify as Black or Latino/a, and a third are foreign born. Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition has developed strong partnerships and strategies to ensure all residents are able to benefit from and contribute to food access and healthy living programming, including farmers markets, community gardens, cooking classes, youth development, and physical activity.

Image of three people standing close to one another facing the camera. One is holding a baby, and behind them there is a painted sign with flowers on it, as well as a painted bench. Starts Line

Quincy

With a population of more than 94,000, Quincy has the highest concentration of Asian American residents of any municipality in Massachusetts. Quincy also had disproportionate rates of poverty among all minority residents. As a leading nonprofit in the Quincy area, Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc. aims to reduce inequities and provide a wide range of culturally sensitive anti-poverty services to the community, including food security programs, heating assistance, affordable housing, Head Start, and adult education. 

Randolph

The city of Randolph’s residents are diverse, and nearly a third are foreign-born, but because of disparities faced by minority and immigrant populations, they experience significant barriers to food access and economic stability. Located in Quincy, but increasing their reach and impact in Randolph, Quincy Asian Resources bridges the gap between immigrants and their communities, providing a wide range of social, cultural, economic, and civic services, including Pan-Asian meal and grocery delivery throughout the pandemic. 

A photo of an adult and 3 kids. Behind them is another adult and a white truck. They are looking at the camera, two have masks on, and the other two kids are smiling. In front of them is a sign that says "do not touch the produce." Starts Line

Worcester

Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts and home to immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Europe, who together comprise nearly a quarter of the population. Worcester’s strong network of organizations working towards food justice and equity have prioritized reducing barriers to access for minority groups. Our two lead partner organizations in Worcester have a combined 50 years working towards food justice in their city. Regional Environmental Council has been working in the community since 1971 and runs a network of farmers markets and mobile markets, school gardens, urban farms, and a robust youth development program. And El Buen Samaritano Food Program has operated as an entirely volunteer-run food pantry for nearly 30 years, distributing groceries with dignity and respect to up to 400 families per month, while also providing SNAP application assistance and other sustainable income support resources.