We’re working with partners and communities across Boston to redesign food security with a hyper-local lens. Together, we’re creating an equitable, crisis-resilient food system that ensures everyone can access the food they need to be healthy at the moment they need it.
Across Massachusetts, thousands of families are forced to navigate a fragmented, under-resourced, and inequitable food distribution system just to put food on the table. These challenges disproportionately harm communities of color, especially in the Greater Boston area, where food insecurity has more than doubled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food Security Challenges
Health Leads’ oversight, coordination, and capacity-building work is helping residents, community-based organizations, and local government officials in Boston build a new, hyper-local food system: one that increases access to healthy food, effectively distributes food during times of crisis, and closes gaps in the existing food system that allow people to go hungry. Together, we’re elevating community voices, alleviating the barriers to food access, and working with policy makers and thought leaders to move away from stop-gap solutions and instead develop and implement solutions that are sustainable, equity-oriented, and community-led. This will be accomplished by:
- Improving communication and coordination between mutual-aid groups and agencies doing food security work
- Empowering communities to develop their own neighbor-to-neighbor food networks that are equipped to increase equitable access to and distribution of food resources via the Neighborhood Food Action Collaboratives (NFAC), which now serve Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury
- Collaborating with networks such as the Boston Food Access Council (BFAC) and SNAP Gap Coalition
- Improving access to food resources for immigrants and other populations by maintaining a weekly-updated food resource list for multiple Boston neighborhoods delivered in three languages, and ensuring in-person sharing of SNAP enrollment opportunities.
- Advocating to address the SNAP gap and improve food access in underserved communities. Approximately 600,000 to 700,000 low-income residents who are eligible to receive the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, are not accessing them
Our Work in Partnership with Local Communities
Our Community Partners
- SNAP Gap Data Brief – An overview of the significant gaps of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits program that impacts the social and economic vulnerability of various communities across Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts SNAP Gap Data Mapping Tool – The brief showcases a new data mapping tool comparing the social and economic vulnerability of several Massachusetts communities to the existing “SNAP Gap.”
- Food Resource Guide (updated weekly) – A guide of available food resources in Boston neighborhoods including Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Roslindale. Available in three languages.
- Holiday Resource Guide – In partnership with Boston Food Access Council (BFAC) and City of Boston Office of Food Access a list of locations to access food during the holiday season. Available in six languages.
- Dorchester Reporter – news article highlighting the Dorchester/Mattapan Neighborhood Food Action Collaborative group.
- 2021 Community Information Exchange (CIE) Summit Session – “Leading with Community to Drive System Change