Walsh Forms Health Inequities Task Force to Provide Guidance to the City of Boston

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Offices of Food Access and Immigrant Advancement announced the latest efforts to expand food access for immigrant communities in the City of Boston. Using grant funding provided by the Boston Resiliency Fund, Fair Foods will provide produce to partner immigrant nonprofit organizations that are working to increase access to fresh, affordable food for individuals, including those who do not qualify for state or federal assistance in the City of Boston.

“Food is a basic need, and it’s especially important to have healthy food available and affordable during a health crisis,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud that the Boston Resiliency Fund will be used to bring nutritious food to more families, and I want to thank our partner organizations for their collaboration in addressing this inequity.”

Fair Foods will use the funding from the Boston Resiliency Fund to increase the availability of food access for anyone in two ways. For 11 of their nonprofit partners, Fair Foods will supply fresh produce to distribute to any individual in need at no cost. The Boston Resiliency Fund grant will also allow Fair Foods to empower seven of their nonprofit partners with vouchers to distribute to individuals. Each voucher has the purchasing power of two bags of fresh produce. Without a voucher, one bag of fresh produce can be purchased for $2, valued originally at $15 to $20. Vouchers can be used at Fair Foods locations throughout the City of Boston.

This collaboration is guided by the needs and approach expressed by the City of Boston’s partner immigrant nonprofit organizations directly serving these communities. Organizations are located throughout the City of Boston and reflect the diversity of Boston’s immigrant communities.

“This funding will enable thousands of our Bostonian families to have dignity at dinner, good health and to have the security that we as a City care for their wellness,” said Nancy Jamison of Fair Foods. “The team at the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Food Access, Fair Foods and our food donors will continue to fight poverty and hunger throughout Boston with added services funded by the Boston Resiliency Fund.”

The Boston Resiliency Fund (BRF) has granted over $15 million to organizations devoted to helping Bostonians with access to food and other basic needs like hygiene products, cleaning supplies and diapers. The BRF’s $2 million of contributions to the Greater Boston Food Bank have supported the distribution of enough food for 1.2 million meals, with a portion of that funding helping to establish a City program that has delivered over 375,000 pounds of food to public housing and senior households. Other organizations that have received Boston Resiliency Fund grants that support food access this summer and fall include: 

•  Funding for Mass Farmers Market provides access to farm fresh local fruit and vegetables for families, seniors, and individuals this farmers market season. The program provides weekly coupons to those in need regardless of immigration status, while supporting the local economy and urban agriculture. A map of farmers markets in the City, days and hours of operation, and available payment methods can be found online.

•  Funding for Fresh Truck expands their Fresh Air Market sites to more than 15 Boston sites in Hyde Park, Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Charlestown, and other neighborhoods around the city. Fresh Air Markets are also an eligible vendor for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). Fresh Truck has delivered almost 28,000 fresh produce boxes.

•  Funding for Project Bread develops and implements a public awareness campaign to promote Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment and utilization, targeting SNAP gap households and other eligible but unenrolled families. These funds will provide operational and additional language support to the FoodSource Hotline to meet the increased demand on SNAP applications and train community-based organizations and health centers to screen for SNAP eligibility and support with applications.

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