Fund the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) at $20 million!
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We, The Greater Boston Food Bank, ask you to support increasing the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) funding to $20 million in Fiscal Year 2019 (line item DAR 2511-0105). This increase would allow the state's four food banks to provide an additional 4 million healthy meals.
Reasons to Increase MEFAP:
- The need remains acute. 1 in 10 people in Massachusetts (about 700,000) is food insecure—meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. 1 in 7 children and 1 in 20 seniors in Massachusetts struggle with the same problem.
- 4 million additional healthy meals. The food banks currently provide 65.7 million healthy meals annually, and 20.9 million of those meals were provided by $17 million in FY17 MEFAP funding. A $2.6 million increase would provide an additional 4 million healthy meals to those in need.
- Helps the working poor. About a third of food-insecure people in Massachusetts are ineligible for SNAP (food stamps) and other federal nutrition programs, such as free and reduced-price school meals.* These families rely on the emergency hunger-relief system.
- Rising food costs. The weekly food budget shortfall for the food insecure in Massachusetts has risen four percent to nearly $20 per person—11 percent higher than the national average.* A family of four is short $80 worth of groceries a week.
- Hunger impacts health. MEFAP enables the state’s food banks to consistently distribute the basics of a healthy, balanced diet. Research shows food-insecure people are at higher risk of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and depression.
- Supports Massachusetts businesses. More than 30 local farmers and more than half of the MEFAP food vendors are Massachusetts-based. These local farmers and food vendors supply more than 17 percent of MEFAP-purchased food. This direct investment in local farms and businesses strengthens the Massachusetts economy.
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