2020 Annual Report

Supporting Massachusetts through the COVID-19 hunger crisis

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2020 Annual Report
Yellow Stars Single Our Response


In Massachusetts, during March and April alone, 690,500 jobs were lost. Schools closed and nearly 500,000 low-income kids needed an alternative to the school meals they rely on every day. Parents were wondering how they were going to afford to feed their kids. So many people needed help, and they needed it fast. To meet the scale of the immediate needs, through your support, we focused on expanding access to historically underutilized federal nutrition programs.

Food insecurity in Massachusetts doubled. You doubled down to help.

When the full impact of the pandemic reached our state, food insecurity doubled from 8.4% of households to 16.5% in September 2020. You helped your neighbors—many who were facing hunger for the first time.

Magenta Stars Yellow Stars
Yellow Stars Single Your Impact

You fought hunger in a pandemic

Your outpouring of support for your neighbors in need was astounding.
As nearly a quarter of the households in Massachusetts were food insecure during the peak of the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, your help meant we could get resources to people struggling to afford food, and also enabled us to advocate for policies to expand food benefits. You helped your neighbors—many who were facing hunger for the first time.

A message from our FoodSource Hotline


Khara Burns, Senior Director of SNAP Outreach Programs — and a 14 year veteran on our FoodSource Hotline — reflects on what it was like to answer call-after-call from our worried neighbors, struggling to afford food during the pandemic. 

Impact Highlights

Due to your generosity and support, we were able to greatly increase access to food, spread awareness of resources, and advocate for those facing hunger. This massive effort to combat unprecedented levels of food insecurity truly reached people across Massachusetts, from singles to seniors to families of five.

28,300,000 free meals for kids

provided at sites supported by Project Bread

45,707 people

 had a place to turn for help when they called our FoodSource Hotline for support

1,334 patients

 received personalized services through the launch of our innovative partnership with MassHealth to address chronic food insecurity in medically-complex patients 

I've been unemployed for two months. It's been so hard with three children. Thank you for helping me find resources, we really need this now.”

Family in Plymouth, FoodSource Hotline

Two sisters with face masks help mom grocery shopping, adding a fresh head of lettuce to the basket
Yellow Stars Single Feeding Kids

You kept kids fed, No matter what

Your generosity allowed our team to work side by side with schools and other sponsors to open meal sites when schools closed across the state. You helped to ensure that nearly 500,000 children, who rely on school meals every day, were able to continue receiving safe and reliable access to healthy food.

Your support was part of a safety net for kids facing food insecurity, weaving together year-round free school meal sites, extra benefit dollars for groceries, and a boost to awareness efforts.


 in emergency funding to schools feeding kids through closures

44 school districts

received grants to pivot operations to support to-go meals

1,664 free meal sites

were keeping kids fed across the state at the height of the crisis

Free Meals for Kids

Kids ate 28,300,000 free meals

Buoyed by your generosity, we immediately set out to make sure all students have reliable access to free healthy meals at easy-to-find alternative meal site locations across the state. Our team worked side by side with schools to pivot operations for to-go options.  

summer eats event Starts Line

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

530,000 students received P-EBT to buy groceries while learning from home

Your support empowered our pivotal role to bring a new relief program, Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), to Massachusetts families. We advised on the USDA-approved proposal, supported implementation, and directly assisted more than 22,000 families through our FoodSource Hotline so families had funds to feed their kids during remote learning. 

Family with two kids posing for a photo in the grocery store, with masks on Starts Line

Lead statewide partner

with DTA and DESE, advising on the approved plan, supporting roll-out, helping families, and advocating for benefits through 20-21 school year.

Nearly $400 this spring

received by each eligible child, supported by advocacy, P-EBT has been extended to continue aiding families through Sept 2021.


in federal funding came to local Massachusetts economies (March–September)

Wow, I did not expect P-EBT benefits. I have two sons in school and it’s been tough these past weeks trying to make sure there is enough to eat with everyone home. Thank you for helping me.”

A family in Worcester - FoodSource Hotline

Yellow Stars Single A place to turn

You answered the call to help, again and again.

So much of tackling food insecurity is spreading awareness about resources and places to turn for help. Through our growing FoodSource Hotline, our new innovative healthcare partnership program, and widespread advertising campaign, our message reached many Massachusetts residents for the first time.

Foodsource Hotline

Personalized support in response to 45,707 requests for assistance from our neighbors across MA

You’ve been a lifeline to families in crisis when they needed it most. In 2020 we saw unprecedented traffic on our FoodSource Hotline, our longstanding phone line for those facing food insecurity. Callers receive personalized, compassionate help (in 180 languages) from our trained staff, who connect them to every food assistance program that is available and for which they are eligible.

Starts Line

106% increase in calls

from residents seeking food assistance over last year

7,782 non-English speakers

received nutrition assistance in their primary language through the hotline

24 staff members

More than half of our entire team jumped in to help answer and triage an unprecedented call volume when the pandemic hit MA

Instagram post for #StartWithSNAP Starts Line

Public Education & Outreach


You reached out in the midst of record unemployment to help families and individuals experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Through large-scale awareness campaigns, word about critical food programs like free meals for kids, SNAP, and our FoodSource Hotline spread across the state in seven different languages

454,000 households

received food resource information from postcard mailings in July, August, and September

382,900 people

visited our website for the first time to learn more about SNAP

Cape Verdean, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese

Connected people and communities to SNAP assistance through targeted outreach in 7 languages

Launch of Health Care Partnerships

You brought food security to patients with chronic conditions

Amidst the pandemic, when pre-existing conditions put people at greater risk of getting COVID-19, we accelerated the launch of our first-of-its-kind pilot with MassHealth. Patients with complex medical conditions received direct support from our team two months ahead of schedule to establish long-term food security, free of charge. We help with everything including signing people up for SNAP, buying cooking supplies, providing transportation to shop for food, gift cards for groceries and virtual medically tailored cooking classes. Participants are sharing how life changing this support has been for them. You made it possible.


in grocery gift cards provided to food insecure patients

14 Health Centers

referring patients to our nutrition services coordinators for in-depth services  

4 languages

our counselors were supporting patients in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese 

Health Care Partnerships

1,334 patients received personalized services

Throughout our history, we have piloted and pioneered innovative programs that build connections between Project Bread and health care providers. If a doctor’s office is where you go to maintain your health, then your access to food should be front and center.

Mom and daughter cooking at stove Starts Line

I lost all of my income a month ago, and I have been struggling ever since. I would have applied for SNAP a long time ago if I knew it was this easy to do it over the phone with you.”

Single dad - FoodSource Hotline

father with kid and grocery cart
Yellow Stars Single mobilizing the response


Your support allowed us to increase our advocacy efforts in response to unprecedented food insecurity in our state, engaging more than 800 volunteer hunger advocates. Together we worked with legislators, conducted research, and fought for policies that support and create access to food. We had big wins that helped reach those experiencing food insecurity. Together we’ve dug our heels in on policy work—the key to long lasting change for a more equitable recovery.

COVID Policy Agenda

When the pandemic hit, we developed and advocated for pandemic-response state and federal policy agendas that focus on leveraging the scalable federal nutrition programs, like SNAP, Pandemic-EBT, and school meals.

Breakfast for 150,000 more kids

In August, we celebrated the passage of Breakfast After the Bell legislation, a success that followed a multi-year legislative effort to make breakfast part of the school day in our lowest-income schools.

Free meals for kids all year

In June, we partnered with State Senator DiDomenico and State Representative Barber to organize more than 90 state legislators to successfully advocate for the extension of USDA waivers needed to allow free meals to be served to all kids & teens throughout the pandemic. (Currently extended through September 30, 2021.)

A young boy and girl wearing masks, bumping elbows outside with backpacks on Starts Line

Engaging our legislators

Informing an equitable response & recovery

Through legislative briefings, virtual town halls and Facebook lives, we partnered with legislators such as Senator Warren, Congressmen McGovern and Kennedy, Congresswoman Pressley, the Massachusetts Progressive and Food Systems Caucuses, and the Senate COVID-19 Task Force to raise awareness of the growing food insecurity crisis and how legislators can support the federal nutrition programs’ critical role in the response.

Yellow Stars Single A special thanks from Senator Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren even made a virtual appearance at our annual retreat, recognizing our role at the forefront of responding to the hunger crisis and encouraging us to continue our on-the-ground work.

The Cluggish Family models their collection of walk tee shirts at the virtual Walk for Hunger in 2020

The Walk for Hunger

$1.3 million raised for our pandemic response

In addition to raising critical funds in the earliest days of the pandemic to enable our rapid response to the crisis, The Walk for Hunger granted nearly $100,000 to 27 organizations to fund their anti-hunger work through The Commonwealth fundraising share program.

Yellow Stars Single Exposing Disparity in Food Security

Recovery must mean recovery for all

Emboldened by your steadfast support, we are committed to an ever-deepening understanding of racism and food insecurity in order to take concrete action toward greater equity. We recognize communities and people of color are disproportionately impacted by hunger because systemic racism leads to economic inequity and health disparities— further exacerbated by the COVID-19 hunger crisis.

When the pandemic hit, we developed and advocated for pandemic-response state and federal policy agendas that focus on leveraging the scalable federal nutrition programs, like SNAP, Pandemic-EBT, and school meals.

Equity in Recovery

Co-hosted virtual forum with The Boston Foundation entitled, The State of Hunger in Massachusetts: Before & Since the Pandemic. Featuring remarks from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on a path forward, we featured our newest research on racial disparities in food access and suggestions for removing barriers. 

Statewide Awareness Campaigns

Advocated for SNAP benefits increase in federal relief packages during the pandemic, in partnership with advocates and the entire Massachusetts delegation.

SNAP Trainings

Led trainings on best practices for SNAP outreach to 50 community partners

Yellow Stars Single Our Research

The State of Hunger in Massachusetts

Notably, our research showed the strength of the Latinx community in East Boston while highlighting the pre-existing inequities that make it more difficult for people of color, immigrant families, and those with fewer economic means to access food. The same groups are now being hit hardest by the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Food insecurity was an issue in our community well before COVID arrived...the pandemic has really laid bare and exacerbated these existing challenges and inequities...Children and families across our state and nation are worth fighting for.”

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, MA-7 congressional district, State of Hunger in Massachusetts Research Event

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley,  MA-7 congressional district, State of Hunger in Massachusetts Research Event
Yellow Stars Single Financials

Expenses & Revenue

You, our generous funders and donors in Project Bread’s fiscal year 2020 (10.1.2019 - 9.31.2020), inspired us with your dedication and support. You powered anti-hunger work central to Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response, and supported our team’s expansion from 32 to 50 people as we scaled to meet the demand. Thank you for making our work possible during a year when it was more important than ever.


$11.89 million

FY20 Revenue Starts Line


$7.38 million

pb FY20 expense Starts Line
Yellow Stars Single Recognition

Thank You

We wouldn’t be here — leading a charge to provide true COVID-19 hunger relief to our neighbors across the state — without you. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and commitment to helping our neighbors put food on the table for themselves and their families during this incredibly difficult year. 

Corporate & Foundations



Boston Resiliency Fund

Liberty Mutual

$200,000 - $499,999

HarbourVest Partners, LLC

Share Our Strength

$100,000 - $199,999

MassCovid19 Relief Fund

The Ansin Foundation

The Eos Foundation

The Klarman Family Foundation 

The Ruby W. and LaVon P. Linn Foundation

$50,000 - $99,999

Bay State Milling Company

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co.

Safety Insurance Company Charitable Gift Fund

The 1434 Foundation

The Albertsons Company Foundation

The Davis Family Charitable Foundation

The Yawkey Foundation

Thomas H. Lee Partners Charitable Fund


$25,000 - $49,999

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Digital Federal Credit Union

Partners Health Care

The Baupost Group

The Hershey Family Foundation

The Merck Family Fund

Whole Foods Market

$10,000 - $24,999


Bain Capital

Brookline Bank

CarGurus, Inc

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation

Fiduciary Trust Company

Global Atlantic Financial Company

High Vista Strategies

Life Science Cares

Raytheon Technologies

State Street Corporation

The Alice Willard Dorr Foundation

The Burkhaven Family Foundation

The Cabot Family Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation

The Lawrence J and Anne Rubenstein Charitable Foundation

The Linde Family Foundation

The Lovett-Woodsum Foundation

The Vertex Foundation

Tufts Health Plan Foundation

Wells Fargo Advisors

$5,000 - $9,999

Acadia Insurance Group, LLC

ACAP, Inc.- DBA Wines & More Wareham

Amazon Robotics

Elliot Church of Newton

GT Retail, Inc. - DBA Wines & More, Mansfield

Insource Services, Inc.

Massachusetts Capital Resource Co.

Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

The Bushrod Campbell & Adah Hall Charity Fund

The Rogers Family Foundation

W.R. Berkley Charitable Foundation

Webster Bank

$1,000 - $4,999

Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest

Dedham Savings Bank

The Consolidated Lodge AF & AM Anderson Philanthropic Fund

Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston

Hemenway and Barnes

Invest Partners, LLC. - DBA Wines & More, Walpole

iSlide, Inc

Kevin York Communications LLC

Liberty Mutual Reinsurance Employees

Neighborhood for Affordable Housing

Nordson Corporation

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

Peoples Super Store Liquors,Inc.- DBA Douglas Wine & Spirits

RSM Boston Foundation

Teradyne, Inc.

The Paper Store, LLC

Wegmans Food Markets



98.5 The Sports Hub

105.7 WROR

Country 102.5


ROCK 92.9





Amos and Barbara Hostetter

The Mooney-Reed Charitable Foundation

Jason and Shannon Robins

Wendy B. Fain Fund

$50,000 - $99,999

Cecile Higginson Murphy Charitable Foundation

Rachel and Brent Dibner

The George T. Lewis, Jr. 2001 Foundation

The Paula’s Gift Fund

Steinberg Charitable Fund

$10,000 - $49,999

The Ali Family

Mr. Derrick Ang

Mr. Lalor and Mrs. Patricia N. Burdick

Ms. Susan O. Bush

Mr. Vince Camacho

Ms. Anne S. Covert

Ms. Victoria B. Croll and Mr. David D. Croll

Evans Moser Family Charitable Fund

Dr. Oliver D. Hart and Dr. Rita Goldberg

Mr. Lawrence D. and Ms. Beth C. Greenberg

Dr. Lora Sabin and Mr. Jonathan Hecht

John C. and Eunice B. Morrison Charitable Foundation

Joseph and Mary Lynn Antonellis Giving Fund

Judith and Stanley Hoffberger Family Foundation

KBK Foundation

Kell J.C. Kellogg Foundation

Manzione Charitable Fund

Mr. Douglas and Mrs. MaryAnn Marmon

Mr. Chris McGrath

Ms. Mary J. Meelia

Jeffrey G. Naylor and Shawn E. Baker Charitable Fund

Mr. Roger G. Reiser and Mrs. Hannelore Reiser

Dr. Eric B. Rimm and Mrs. Allison C. Rimm

Rita M. Bleakney Trust

Dr. David A. Roth and Dr. Marie B. Demay

Ms. Michele J. Ryan

Dr. Stephen D. and Mrs. Margaret Senturia

Mr. Andrew Sigel

Prof. Malcolm K. and Mrs. Penelope J. Sparrow

The L. Knife and Son Charitable Gift Fund

The Maria Carmella Benjamin Fund

The Players Legacy Fund by Bruins Players

The Richard and Natalie Jacoff Foundation Inc.

Theodore W. & Evelyn G. Berenson Charitable Foundation

Mr. Edward and Mrs. Barbara Wilson

Board of Directors


Executive Committee

Peter Levangie
President & CEO, Bay State Milling Company

Irene Li
Vice Chair & Board DEI Liaison
Founder & Owner, Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Restaurant

Kathryn Audette
Director of State Government Relations, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social Work, Boston University


Anthony Ackil
Founder & CEO, Streetlight Ventures

Mari Barrera
Committee Chair, Development
Charitable Foundations Manager, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Alethea Harney
Head of Communications, Office of the Treasurer & Receiver General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Hannah Grove
Former Chief Marketing Officer, State Street Bank

Jean McMurray
Executive Director, Worcester County Food Bank

Nikko Mendoza
Committee Chair, Policy
State Director, Senator Elizabeth Warren, United States Senate

Stacie O’Brien
Senior Manager of Private Investment Operations, Baupost Group

Winton Picoff
Committee Chair, Programs
Director, MA Food System Collaborative

Dr. Eric Rimm
Committee Chair, Nominating
Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Ray Xi
Committee Chair, Finance
Vice President, Double Impact, Bain Capital

Laura Schneider
Attorney, Partner, WilmerHale

Looking Forward

As we look toward a more hopeful and healthy 2021, our work to break the generational cycle of hunger is far from over. Join us in continuing the momentum of COVID-19 hunger relief measures and our ongoing work everyday —to help us achieve change that solves hunger for good.

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