Special to the Patriot-Bridge
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, held its 18th annual Chain of Giving event last week, a yearly tradition convening civic leaders and community members to spotlight and alleviate holiday food insecurity and kick off GBFB’s Hunger Free Holidays campaign.
“Food insecurity is a challenge that we all must come together to solve. Together, we can end the root causes of food insecurity and end hunger once and for all in Massachusetts,” said Governor Maura Healey. “I am grateful for the outstanding work The Greater Boston Food Bank does to assist our communities and for their partnership and commitment with our state.”
As GBFB aims to provide nutritious and culturally responsive food to families in need this holiday season, Governor Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato shared remarks on the urgency of addressing food insecurity in the Bay State. Over 150 participants then passed nearly 1,000 turkeys from a delivery truck to GBFB’s freezer to donate to families in need. This represents only a portion of the 27,000 turkeys and other poultry options the nonprofit expects to distribute to pantries across Eastern Massachusetts throughout the holidays.
“Hunger is not an issue that anyone or any organization can tackle alone. We are working together with The Greater Boston Food Bank to help fund and provide resources to nearly 70 food pantries across the City, feeding nearly 50,000 people every month,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Boston is blessed to have so many incredible organizations fighting food insecurity and expanding food access across our neighborhoods.”
The event’s presenting sponsor was Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), and its lead sponsor was National Grid. State Representatives Brandy Fluker Oakley, Christopher Worrell, James Arena-DeRosa, John Moran, Kevin Honan, Rob Consalvo and Samantha Montaño; Commissioner for the Department of Transitional Assistance Jeff McCue, MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randalle, Deputy Commissioner Winton Pickoff, as well as other state and local officials joined the tradition, alongside the beloved mascots for the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins.
The state of food insecurity in Massachusetts remains a stark reality for the 1.8 million individuals facing hunger this holiday season. GBFB’s average food pantry partners report a 12 percent increase in individuals served from 2022. The USDA found national food insecurity rates increased between 30-40 percent in 2022, echoing the trends revealed in GBFB’s annual study on the state of food insecurity.
The report found that:
• 1 in 3 MA residents continue to face food insecurity
• Alarming child-level food insecurity
• Deep-rooted disparities in food access based on race, ethnicity, geography and sexual orientation
“We know Hunger is not an emergency – it’s a daily experience for too many of our neighbors across the Commonwealth,” said Catherine D’Amato, GBFB President and CEO. “The pandemic may be over, but unfortunately hunger remains, and hunger should not be business as usual. With your help we have the power to end it and this holiday season we are urging the public to help us, help others.”
Boston Public School Students Win Nally Award
Each year, GBFB honors outstanding young people who have championed hunger-relief in their communities with the Nally Award. Established in 2006, the award is named after Danny and Betsy Nally, who at ages 8 and 6, started their very first turkey drive for GBFB. This year’s Nally Award winners are Ita Berg, Niamh Govender, and Laura Nguyen, three exceptional Boston Latin High School students that are making a difference here in our community. Last year as sophomores, they took their love of baking cookies and turned it into a fundraiser for GBFB called “Cookies for a Cause” which raised over $1,000.
Boston Mayor Wu presented the Nally award to the Boston Latin students alongside their teacher, Mr. Andrew Zou. In her remarks she noted these students realized that they didn’t need the money that they were making as much as other people might, and so with the help of their teacher, they decided to donate it to The Greater Boston Food Bank. The students have set up their own peer-to-peer fundraising webpage to support their upcoming holiday bake sale.
To learn more about The Greater Boston Food Bank or to play a role in their annual Hunger Free Holidays campaign visit GBFB.org/holidays,