Massachusetts Designating Millions to Combat Pandemic Induced Food Insecurity
As part of a $36 million food security program, Massachusetts’ executive administration unveiled $3 million in grants for residents suffering from urgent food instability due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced Wednesday the funding will come as part of the state’s new Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program.
Additionally, the administration revealed 39 new vendors selected for the state’s “Healthy Incentives Program”, which provides benefits for SNAP households that purchase produce from local marketplaces. The vendors were selected based on their ability to serve areas designated as “food deserts”, communities of color, older populations and SNAP clients disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“During this pandemic, Massachusetts’ food supply chain has faced significant challenges and there is an urgent need for food security to support our most vulnerable residents,” Baker said in a statement. “This new funding is a $3 million investment in the infrastructure we need to continue to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, while creating a system that provides more equitable access to nutritious, local food in the Commonwealth.”
SNAP clients shopping with HIP vendors will receive $1 back on their EBT card for each dollar spent on eligible food items until they reach their monthly limit, according to the program’s webpage. The vendors are comprised of farmers markets, community supported agriculture farm share programs, mobile markets and food stands.
“Increasing food security and the resiliency of our food system is essential to protecting public health and local jobs,” Polito said in a statement. “Our administration’s new grant program will help ensure the Commonwealth’s farmers, fishermen, food banks, and other food businesses can continue contributing to our economy and connect fresh, local food with Massachusetts residents.”
The funding has been designated based on recommendations from the administration’s Food Security Task Force, created to make healthy food items from local vendors readily available for families and individuals. This is the first round of program funding, with more grants expected to follow suit.
Twenty-six grant awardees are now able to apply the funds towards investments in equipment, technology and capacity increases that will assist producers in distributing food to insecure communities. Applications for the grant program will be evaluated through Sept. 15 of this year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the food system,” John Lebeaux, commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Agricultural Resources, said in a statement. “These Food Security Infrastructure Grants will help to strengthen the resiliency of Massachusetts’ farmers and fishers, and better connect locally grown and produced food products with the Commonwealth residents most underserved by healthy, fresh food options.”
In The News
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara... Read More
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara spill that sparked the modern environmental movement, and the latest spill off Huntington Beach is prompting fresh calls for an end to such drilling. That's easier... Read More
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill. The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5. That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More