Today, I’d like to tell you a bit about Project Bread’s “fresh approach to ending hunger”—because at this time of year, fresh is certainly at the top of everyone’s minds!
Summer brings thriving gardens, busy farmers’ markets, and the type of fresh-picked produce that shines in our kitchens and on the grill. This vibrant, healthy food is something that should be on every table in the state—and Project Bread works to provide it for low-income individuals across Massachusetts.
Why? Because we believe the opposite of hungry isn’t simply full, it’s healthy. And here’s how we’re working to make that happen:
We bring a fresh set of ideas to the problem of hunger. We see hunger as a complex problem with multiple solutions—not something that one initiative or band-aid can solve on its own. As we’ve worked to develop an effective set of programs to offer our communities, we’ve ensured that we’re getting it right by proving our holistic approach through extensive research and analysis, conducted in collaboration with top academic and scientific institutions.
In a joint research study with the Harvard School of Public Health in 2011, we used extensive data to back up our contention that children will eat healthy school meals—and eat more vegetables than their unhealthy counterparts—when they are prepared in a tasty, visually appealing way. Because many children in the state get more than half of their daily calories from school meals, it is vital that we offer them healthy, flavorful, well-prepared food to ensure that they get everything they need to be and feel their best.
We take a fresh approach to partnerships. We’re passionate about including local producers and farmers in our initiatives because we understand that hunger is a problem that exists within the food system—not outside of it. We can support local business, reduce our environmental impact, promote sustainable activity—and give our families healthy food, all as a result of these partnerships.
This summer, Project Bread is partnering with CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs and farmers’ markets to bring local produce to those in need. Through our Bounty Bucks program, a family on SNAP can get $100 worth of fresh produce at a farmers’ market for only $50—and because they’re buying from nearby producers, those funds keep our local economy healthy, too.
We stand up for fresh food, good cooking, and community life. Good food brings us to the table together, gives us joy, and keeps us healthy. At the Head Start program in Lynn, Project Bread’s Chef Educator, Vanessa LaBranche, is capturing the imagination and taste buds of young children before they form a preference for foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium. The program is also teaching their parents—not to mention the school kitchen staff as well—that one of the most important messages we can send our kids is that “good food is love.”
And we’re taking a fresh approach to including you in our work and thinking. Project Bread’s approach was developed as the result of a strategic planning process that involved interviewing over 2,000 individuals about the future of hunger relief. We want to continue to include the community in our work and we welcome hearing from you. Please contact us at www.projectbread.org.
You know the feeling you get when you bite into a really crisp, fresh carrot, straight from the garden? That’s what we want to bring to every family in Massachusetts. Please join Project Bread as we continue our fresh—and much needed—approach to ending hunger.