This year, GBFB took a giant step in connecting hunger and health. We became the first food bank in the nation to hire a physician with a specialty in public health and food security.
Under the leadership of Kathryn Brodowski, MD, MPH and our newly formed Food Security Task Force, GBFB has embarked on an ambitious public health initiative to forge partnerships with community health centers throughout Eastern Massachusetts. In 2016, we launched the first of these collaborations with Charles River Community Health Center in Brighton and the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in order to help end hunger in these communities.
Working closely with the centers, GBFB supports screening patients for food insecurity, provides information on community food resources, and operates a free, produce-only Mobile Market on site. These monthly Mobile Markets align with our goal to be a consistent source of healthy food for our 530 member agencies across Eastern Massachusetts.
Fruits and vegetables comprised 28 percent of the 57.7 million pounds of food we provided in 2016, and center-of-the-plate high protein items, such as chicken and, for the first time, frozen seafood, made up 22 percent. Much of the produce we distributed was locally grown and purchased from more than 40 Massachusetts farmers through the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program, a critical source of state funding for GBFB.
In total, we provided more than 48 million meals—an increase of nearly 7 percent over last year. These additional meals helped us reach 94 percent of our goal to ensure those in need, like Laurie and Staci, have access to at least One Meal a Day.
Still, the reality remains that 1 in 10 people across Eastern Massachusetts is food insecure. However, thanks to your commitment and generous support, we dare to imagine ending hunger here. And together, we know we can.
Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO
Woody Bradford, Board Chair