Show your support and spread awareness by using the hashtag #MEFAPMatters on social media!
Advocacy matters! The Food Bank relies on state and federally funded programs to provide us with approximately 55% of our food. Because of this, advocacy has played an increasing role in our efforts. We lead the community in advocating for change, bringing issues of hunger to the forefront and empowering the community to work towards taking action and developing a solution.
Food Bank Advocacy Priorities
1. Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP)
- In FY2014, MEFAP provided almost 2.4 million pounds of food (25% of total food received) to 199 emergency feeding programs in Western MA.
- MEFAP is a good and reliable source of basic, nutritious food.
- MEFAP also provides funds to purchase locally grown produce. The MassGrown Initiative provides funding for foods such as oranges, potatoes, apples, onions, etc., which have been purchased from the Pioneer Valley Growers Association.
- Although benefits are federally funded, the SNAP program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). DTA is reimbursed 50% of its administrative costs by the federal government.
- Since 2001, the SNAP caseload has increased by 300% while front line DTA staff declined by 30%.
- SNAP benefits are provided to nearly 900,000 residents of Massachusetts – low income families with children, persons with disabilities, veterans, and seniors.
3. Massachusetts Food Trust
- The Massachusetts Food Trust Program, established in law in 2014, would provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support new and expanded healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in low and moderate income communities. This could include supermarkets, corner stores, farmer’s markets, mobile markets, community kitchens, food truck commissaries, indoor and outdoor greenhouses, and food distribution hubs.
- This program was a recommendation of the Mass. Grocery Access Task Force, a public-private partnership which met for two years to tackle this problem. A study by the this Task Force found that large swaths of urban and rural Massachusetts lack good access to grocery stores and other healthy food retailers. Research shows that access to grocery stores is linked to lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. Many of these same communities are struggling economically and lack appropriate job opportunities for local residents.
1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps)
- SNAP is a federally-funded program that is administered by the states. The monthly benefit that is received by SNAP recipients is federal money.
- The SNAP program is authorized and funded through the Farm Bill.
- SNAP provides an average of more than $23 million per month to more than 106,000 people in Western Massachusetts.
2. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP/USDA)
- TEFAP is a federally-funded program that provides food to food banks nationwide. It also provides funding for food banks to store and distribute that food (this is called administrative funding).
- TEFAP is a program of USDA. It is authorized and funded through the Farm Bill.
- TEFAP provided 1.4 million lbs. of food (15% of total food received) and $107,000 in operating support to The Food Bank of Western Mass. in FY 2014.
3. Child Nutrition Reauthorization
- “Child Nutrition Reauthorization” refers to three laws that govern child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Act, the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, and the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. These laws must be reexamined every 5 years.
- These laws provide federal funding for programs including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Together we can eliminate hunger in our communities. Did you know that each time a legislator hears from a constituent, they count it as representing much more than that one person’s opinion?
Check our State Policy Updates and Federal Policy Updates pages for information about current legislation related to The Food Bank’s work.
Watch our tutorial video on placing a call to your representative and make an impact on real food policy:
When to contact your representatives
Be vocal on current anti-hunger and pro-nutrition legislation! When The Food Bank needs your support for particular legislation up for consideration, we will sent Action Alert emails with all the tools you’ll need:
You can also check our State Policy Updates and Federal Policy Updates pages for updates.
How to find your state and federal representatives
You CAN make a difference by urging government officials to support policies that will help reduce hunger and increase food security in our communities.
For information about state and federal officials, visit www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com. You can also call your legislators at the State House at 617-722-2000.