At least 12.5% of Western Massachusetts residents are living below the poverty line, and that number is growing.
Massachusetts is now losing over $9.5 million every month in federal SNAP nutrition dollars. Since the spring of 2014, low income households have faced significant access barriers in getting and keeping their SNAP benefits. These barriers are a direct results of the state’s hastily implemented “business process redesign.” Massachusetts has created an impenetrable bureaucracy coupled with unfiltered, erroneous data matching; extreme verification demands; and automatic case closings without worker review. Food Bank member agencies report a spike in demand for emergency food, and families are losing direct certification for free school meals.
Why the sharp drop in SNAP participation in Massachusetts?
You can help fix this problem! Please call your state legislator and ask them to help. Specifically, we need DTA to do the following:
Show your support and spread awareness by using the hashtag #MEFAPMatters on social media!
Line item DAR 2511–0105: Increase funding to $20,000,000.
Reasons: The need for food assistance in Western Massachusetts is steadily increasing. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts currently serves more than 235,000 people per year through our 250 feeding programs.
MEFAP helps us meet the need of providing assistance to working families, veterans, the elderly, disabled, and children. The additional $5 million would allow the four food banks in Massachusetts to provide an additional 7 million healthy meals to people in need.
MEFAP is a reliable source of nutritious staples such as meat, eggs, milk, and fresh produce, which supports public health.
MEFAP also helps support the Massachusetts economy, as many of the food distributers and growers are local, including:
More than one-third of the people in need across the Commonwealth do not qualify for government benefits. They rely on the network of food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across the state to supply their basic needs. The four non-profit food banks in Massachusetts use MEFAP food to help these vulnerable people feed their families.
The increase in MEFAP funding last year helped The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts obtain 180,409 lbs (the equivalent of more than 150,000 meals) more than the year before. Please help us continue to assist our communities by supporting MEFAP funding!
State House Switch Board: (617) 722-2000