Senate Votes to Pass Sen. Lesser's Budget Amendment Providing Record Funding to the Mass. Emergency Food Assistance Program
BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted today for Senator Eric P. Lesser’s budget amendment directing a record $20 million to the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP).
MEFAP is responsible for one-fourth of the food that is distributed by the Food Bank of Western Mass, and it provides fresh food grown at our local farms across the state, including the Pioneer Valley Growers Association.
This year’s funding represents a $2 million increase over last year’s, which will provide an additional 2,900,000 meals to those in need. Sen. Lesser has long been a champion of the program; this is his third year acting as lead sponsor for its annual budget amendment.
“During the Government Shutdown last year, it was MEFAP that stepped in to plug the gap for many of our families in Massachusetts, even currently serving Coast Guard members who stopped receiving paychecks during that time. Citizens across the Commonwealth count on this food assistance to prevent winding up in a hospital, to be able to learn in school and to be productive at work. As we continue to see a federal budget that slashes funding for programs like these for the poorest Americans, including cuts to Meals on Wheels and SNAP funding, Massachusetts needs to step up and protect our most vulnerable families,” said Sen. Lesser.
“Having previously served as the Director of Programs for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, I know how much good MEFAP funding does when it comes to supporting the 22,000 Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district constituents who are food insecure. Thanks to Senator Lesser for leading this effort in the Senate,” said Sen. Jo Comerford, who co-sponsored the amendment.
The Senate budget will now go to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House budget, before a conference committee budget is sent to the Governor.