Please call or email TODAY & support the need for an increase in Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program

Dear Friends:
TODAY’S THE DAY,….TO CALL OUR STATE LEGISLATORS re: the need for an increase in Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (line item DAR  2511-0105). See detailed reasons and contact information below.
On Monday, we held a conference call with clergy leaders in the eastern part of the state who are involved with one of our sister organizations. They are not experiencing the same amount of increase in need as we are experiencing at our pantries here in the Berkshires. We shared our story (Thank you, Rev. Joel Huntington, South Congregational Church for your important role in that call!), and they were surprised to hear that the upswing of the economy hasn’t happened here in the Berkshires. After our conversation, they agreed to mention our concern to their state representatives as well. An example of mutual aid — we’re all in this together!!
Wendy Krom, Lead Organizer
Berkshire Interfaith Organizing
P.O. Box 1133
Pittsfield, MA 01202
The most radical thing we can do
is to introduce people to each other.
— Saul Alinsky, Organizer

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 distributors and growers are local, including:
• Pioneer Valley Growers Association (South Deerfield)
• Szawlowski Farms, Hatfield
• Long Plain Farm, Whately
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!
Contacts (Click links for contact info):
Stephen Kulik, Vice Chair
Benjamin Swan, Assistant Vice Chair
Nicholas Boldyga
Michael Finn
William Smitty Pignatelli
Thomas Petrolati
Todd Smola
Benjamin Downing
Donald Humason
State House Switch Board: (617) 722-2000

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