Findings & Recommendations
Each year, Project Bread releases a status report on hunger in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Below are a listing of problems and solutions discussed in the 2012 Status Report on Hunger.
- Families in Massachusetts continue to experience the impact of the recession. This is illuminated by the fact that the rate of food insecurity in 2011 (the latest study for which data are available) is 11.9 percent — a 43 percentincrease since the recession began in 2008.
- The increase in food insecurity also reflects the widening gap between high- and low-wage earners — a gap that is particularly pronounced in the Commonwealth and signals an increasing distance and absence of dialogue between the “haves” and “have-nots.”
- During a year-long investigation into food insecurity in the state of Massachusetts, Project Bread listened to hundreds of families struggling to put food on the table. We heard stories of struggle, challenge, and resilience.
- We were also struck by a recurrent theme: that how we help is as important as the help itself — and that low income people want to be actors in the solution and not simply recipients.
- Broaden the focus of philanthropic support for antihunger work to include systemic solutions, such as universal access to healthy school food, and high-impact local solutions like community gardens, food co-ops, urban agriculture, and food hubs.
- Develop a systems perspective on the investments we make to end hunger, grounded in the strength, creativity, and resiliency of individuals and communities. Continue to build the case for investments that help individuals, that build community, and that create value for the local economy.
- Involve residents and local leaders in prioritizing the allocation of resources within food-insecure communities.
- Advocate vigorously to retain SNAP (food stamps) as an entitlement program, recognizing it as an irreplaceable source of assistance to foodinsecure people and an important source of revenue for grocery stores across Massachusetts.
- Provide leadership, technical assistance, and resources to support the capacity of schools across the state to serve healthy meals that children like to eat. Promote the purchase of locally grown products as a direct investment in our regional economy.
- Maintain locally based emergency food programs, and explore options that provide the opportunity for participants to give back in return for help.
- Support and expand food rescue — reclaiming healthy food as a sustainable and environmentally positive way to provide no- and low-cost nutritious community meals.
- Explore new opportunities for citizens of the Commonwealth to work together on the interconnected challenge of ending hunger and building a more robust and sustainable food system in the state and across New England.