Download our fact sheet (pdf)

More than 235,000 individuals in Western Massachusetts face hunger.

Each week, 15,000 of our neighbors seek food assistance from The Food Bank and our member agencies.

Poverty rates by county:

  • Hampden: 15.1%
  • Berkshire: 10.5%
  • Hampshire: 9.7%
  • Franklin: 9.2%

Of the people served by The Food Bank:

  • 32% are children under the age of 18
  • 8% are senior citizens

The months with the most amount of people served through our member agencies are June, July and August — a time when children are out of school.


SNAP is the largest domestic nutrition assistance programs and the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. It helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month.


It is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget of more than 47 million low-income individuals across the country.

  • 45% of SNAP recipients are children
  • 9% of SNAP recipients are elderly
  • Only 8% of recipients receive cash welfare
  • More than 40% of all recipients live in households with earnings

View more info from the United States Department of Agriculture

As of May 2015, 45,495,380 people received SNAP benefits, with an average household benefit of $256.


As of March 2015, 82,931 households in Western Mass. were enrolled in SNAP, with a total of 152,091 individuals.

The average household benefit for a household in Western Mass. was $200.


The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) provides 1 in 8 Massachusetts residents with food and nutritional assistance, cash assistance and employment supports (according to their website).

As of May 2015, 442,697 households were enrolled in SNAP.

Additional Resources

Feeding America: a national organization committed to feeding America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engaging our country in the fight to end hunger. Their network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing more than 3.3 billion meals to virtually every community in the U.S. through food pantries and meal programs.

Learn more

Hunger in America Study (2014): a research study conducted by Feeding America to capture the significant connection between the current economy and an increased need for emergency food assistance, on a local and national level.

Read the full report (PDF)

Map the Meal Gap (2013): Through research conducted by Feeding America, we can see that more than one-third of our food-insecure neighbors in Western Massachusetts do not qualify for federal assistance.

View map

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI): a statewide nonprofit poverty law and policy center.  Its mission is to advance economic, racial and social justice through legal action, policy advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach.

Learn more

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA): a local non-profit agency working to strengthen the connections between farms and the community, by creating and running programs that link farmers, community members, and markets.

Learn more

Project Bread: a state-wide anti-hunger organization that promotes sustainable and reliable access to healthy food for all, invests in the strength and resiliency of local communities, and collaborates with others to build a robust regional food system.

Learn more

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC): the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and under-nutrition in the United States. FRAC works with hundreds of national, state and local nonprofit organizations, public agencies, corporations and labor organizations to address hunger, food insecurity, and their root cause, poverty.

Learn more

Bread for the World: a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. They equip people to write personal letters and emails, meet with their members of Congress, and work with others to end hunger through churches, campuses, and other organizations.

Learn more

Check Out Hunger

at your local Western MA grocers