Pressley, Project Bread Join Local Leaders and Advocates From District Gather at Zumix Concerning Food Insecurity

On Monday, U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley joined a panel of experts at Zumix in East Boston to discuss food insecurities in the district.

Pressley was joined by representatives from Eastie-based Project Bread, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, as well as local leaders and advocates, and received testimony from experts and those working to combat hunger.

Testimony provided to the Congresswoman will be shared with the White House and included in an upcoming National Hunger Summit.

Pressley said the convening came at the request of the White House ahead of its Conference on Hunger later this year and testimony from the convening will inform the Biden Administration on how it can address the crisis of food insecurity across the nation.

“I was honored to convene today’s listening session on food insecurity as part of the White House’s upcoming Conference on Hunger,” said Pressley. “I’ve always sought to keep those closest to the pain closest to the power, and convenings like these are critical to informing our response to the hunger crisis facing our communities and the nation. I’m so grateful to Project Bread for their partnership in organizing this critical discussion and to all of our local leaders and residents for their powerful testimony, and look forward to continuing to work with Chairman McGovern and the White House on their conference later this year.”

Monday’s convening consisted of three panels featuring testimony from community members, providers, advocates, academics, and elected officials, and their testimony will be transmitted to the White House ahead of the conference.

“Massachusetts has a strong history as a national leader in addressing some of our most challenging issues from healthcare to education. Today, thanks to Congresswoman Pressley’s convening, we came together as a community to lift up the challenges of food insecurity and the innovative solutions happening right here to address it,” said President and CEO of Project BreadErin McAleer. “As two examples, universal free school meals should be permanent and we must leverage health care as a critical access point to address barriers to food security for improved health. The solutions shared today, from the innovative to the common sense, can serve as a national model for permanently ending hunger. We are so grateful to Congresswoman Pressley for listening to those most impacted by hunger, and for pushing these solutions at the federal level.”

Joining Pressley and Project Bread at the discussion were State Sen. Lydia Edwards, Boston City Councilors Gabriela Coletta, Ricardo Arroyo, Erin Murphy, La Colaborativa, Greater Boston Food Bank, YMCA of Greater Boston, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Community Action Agency of Somerville, Eastie Farm, Chelsea Public School District, and community members from the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District.

“Eastie Farm appreciates Congresswoman Pressley for her active listening and appreciating both nuts-and-bolts type ideas and system-change type holistic ideas towards eliminating hunger in our district and country,“ said Director Eastie Farm Kannan Thiruvengadam.

In October, Pressley joined Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-02) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) at a press conference to unveil legislation that would start the process of convening a national White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health.

Pressley has also led efforts to extend the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) child nutrition waiver authority, which has allowed millions of children in Massachusetts and across the nation to access free and healthy school meals during the pandemic. She delivered a floor speech renewing her calls for its extension last month and applauded the House’s passage of legislation to do so later that month. “Thank you Congresswoman Pressley for your leadership on this food justice and access initiative,” said Councilor Murphy. “When communities have access to healthy food, everyone benefits. Food security is health care and as the Chair of Public Health on the City Council, I will continue to raise awareness about this important public health crisis, advocate for policies to protect people in need, and work alongside all of the organizations, including Project Bread, who help provide access to healthy food with dignity.”

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