Updated April 11, 2014
The Ways and Means Committee of the Massachusetts House of Representatives has issued a budget that includes a $1 million dollar increase to the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP)!
Many of you reached out to your representatives to tell them how important this funding is for our region, and they heard you! The House budget will be voted on during the week of April 22. After that, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will issue its budget, which we hope will also contain an increase.
Although this is a very positive first step, more work lies ahead.
State House Switchboard: (617) 722-2000
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Line Item DAR 2511-0105: Increase to $16,000,000
The need for food assistance in Western Massachusetts is steadily increasing, while critical food sources have undergone drastic cuts. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts currently serves over 200,000 people per year through its feeding programs.
According to the 2010 Hunger in America study, 571,600 people statewide are in need of emergency food assistance. The same study showed that over half of emergency feeding program clients must visit emergency programs more than 6 times per year.
MEFAP meets core nutritional needs for struggling families (some of whom are not able to qualify for federal programs such as SNAP or WIC):
MEFAP also supports the Massachusetts economy by granting contracts to Massachusetts food distributors and local farmers, including:
Senate Ways and Means members from Western Mass. (Click links for contact info):
House Ways and Means members from Western Mass. (Click links for contact info):
State House Switch Board: (617) 722-2000
On March 18, Governor Deval Patrick took steps to avoid losing approximately $142 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that are set to be cut under the new Farm Bill, impacting approximately 163,000 households in Massachusetts.
Under the old Farm Bill, states were able to give low income households just $1-a-year in heating assistance to qualify them for more SNAP benefits. The new Farm Bill raises the threshold to $20-a-year.
Gov. Patrick’s administration says it will spend the additional $3 million in state money to meet that $20-a-year minimum, in order to prevent the $142 million cut in federal benefits. This allows families to be eligible for an increase of $80 in monthly SNAP benefits to help pay for healthy food.
Seven other states and the District of Columbia have already taken the same steps to preserve these benefits for families struggling with food insecurity.
We would like to thank Governor Patrick, as well as Congressman Jim McGovern, for all of their ongoing efforts in preserving SNAP benefits for the residents of Massachusetts.