Across Massachusetts, families and individuals are struggling with food insecurity.
We know the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help alleviate this issue by enabling participants to stretch their food dollars and purchase healthier foods.
We want to thank the state Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker for prioritizing funding for food insecurity issues in the latest budget. By adding financial incentives to encourage SNAP participants to purchase more fruits and vegetables, these families and individuals are able to improve their diets.
SNAP protects children and families who struggle to afford food by reducing food insecurity. Nearly two-thirds of all SNAP participants are children, elderly and people with disabilities.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the need to support healthy food access for households with low-income and for market stabilization efforts for local farms has become more urgent than ever. Fully funding the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) will open up participation to additional farms in areas of the state that are currently underserved, particularly those in communities of color.
It will also allow some farmers of color, who are almost entirely unrepresented in the program, to benefit from participation.
HIP has improved the health of tens of thousands of families, helped to sustain hundreds of farms and strengthened Massachusetts’s local economy with more than $16 million in healthy food purchases over the last three years.