Project Bread is committed to removing barriers to food access in every community in Massachusetts. Our community investment program awards funds to organizations statewide to support local community projects aimed at fighting food insecurity in their areas. This holiday season, it is as important as ever to make healthy food accessible year-round for the 1 in 5 Massachusetts households who are currently experiencing hunger.
This year, Project Bread is proud to award funding to these nine organizations, who we recognize as compassionate, confident, and crucial partners in our state’s mission to end hunger.
Project Bread launched the Pathways to Change Grant in 2022 in recognition of the essential anti-hunger work being achieved in Massachusetts. The grant creates opportunities to connect and to elevate community and individual voices, expertise, and strengths.
This year, five organizations were awarded a one-time investment of up to $6,500 to fund projects that aim to develop community leadership and advocacy, address barriers to implementing and utilizing federal programs, and provide opportunities to discuss and dismantle the stigma of food insecurity.
Curious about the 2024 recipients? You know we’ve always got you covered!
The one-year grant program for 2024 will support the local community projects driven by these five incredible recipients:
Merrimack Valley YMCA has served generations of children, adults and seniors through programs and services that focus on healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.
The Be the Bridge program, which received a $6,500 grant from Project Bread, provides Lawrence youth leaders a unique opportunity to explore current social and political issues through service-learning experiences, exchanges with community leaders, and hands-on research. In the program, the youth will:
Focus on food insecurity and homelessness within the community
Build awareness and opinions
Develop critical thinking skills through dialogue and debate
Create an action plan on a topic of interest, encouraging them to make positive change
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) will use their Project Bread grant of $4,200 to promote authentic collaboration with community members while creating a culturally responsive Client Choice Food Pantry.
Their plan for the grant is to:
Engage local residents to provide their lived expertise and experience
Compensate residents for their participation to reduce the barriers for participating
Cover child care and transportation costs for the participants
This will ensure that the model GLCAC develops is efficient and will be accepted and culturally appropriate for the people it’s intended to benefit.
Partners for a Healthier Community and United Neighbors of Fall River are committed to finding ways to help the people of Fall River meet the needs fundamental to living healthy, productive, supported lives.
In an effort to carry out long-term, impactful initiatives, Partners and United Neighbors will be using their $6,500 Pathways to Change grant to run Crockpot Programs for dozens of diverse, low-income Fall River families.
These free programs will:
Show families how to cook crockpot meals that are inexpensive, nutritious and easy to prepare
Provide cooking instructions, an assortment of kitchen tools, a crockpot cookbook, ingredients and best of all, a free crockpot!
Mass in Motion approaches health through an equity lens, working to remove barriers and stigmas around health, and uplift the local community through social initiatives.
With their community partners and participants, Mass in Motion is able to put the people first while making policy, systems, and environmental changes in the Fall River community. With a $6,000 Pathways to Change grant from Project Bread, Mass in Motion will:
Provide SNAP and HIP education sessions
Have evenings of fun and food using fresh produce from the Fall River farmers markets
Demonstrate making culturally competent meals for families to recreate at home
La Colaborativa reaches the community through an active three step process: Survival, Stability and Empowerment.
The organization, after decades of community involvement, recognized the urgent need for proper assistance, understanding, and representation during the pandemic.
La Colaborativa has become a crucial pillar to the Chelsea community through their work to establish essential departments such as triage, economic development, a prominent food pantry, a targeted youth program for ages 14-21, and a policy and organization department to uplift everyone who walks through their doors.
With Project Bread’s funding, the organization will:
Invest in the shared community kitchen and nutrition education programs
Support members through outreach and consultations
The “Moving the Needle'' community investment program is designed for organizations addressing food insecurity with sustainable and systemic change. This initiative aims to expand the reach of federal nutrition programs, focusing on three key priority areas: Policy and Advocacy, Innovation, and Education
The two-year grant program will support the local community projects driven by these 4 incredible recipients:
Marion Institute has been awarded the first of two annual installments of $17,817 to support its commitment to eradicating hunger in Massachusetts.
The Marion Institute’s SouthCoast Food Policy Council’s (SFPC) mission is to connect, convene, and advocate for local food producers, consumers, and community leaders who seek policies and systems that strengthen our regional food system, improve community health, and eliminate food insecurity.
With this funding, the organization will:
Engage community members in legislative advocacy to ensure food insecurity programs become permanent in the state budget
Regional Environmental Council (REC) focuses on building community food security through school and community gardens, youth farming, and mobile and community farmers market programs.
Their work through this grant focuses on increasing awareness and use of the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP).
They were awarded the first of two annual installments of $30,000 from Project Bread, with which they’ll:
Educate community members to raise awareness of HIP
Support increased outreach to parents through REC’s Farm to Early Childhood project, which supports garden-based programs and education
YMCA of Metro North is a leading Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization providing health, fitness, and youth development programs to the nearly 69,000 community members it serves annually.
The organization has been awarded the first of two annual installments of $30,000. Funding from Moving the Needle will support several nutrition initiatives at the Demakes Family YMCA.
With the funding, the organization will:
Expand its efforts to create a holistic community food hub, educating Lynn residents on making healthy food choices
Support its newly opened rooftop garden, increased nutrition programming in its Healthy Kitchen, and a leadership program for youth to increase community participation and awareness of local and federal food programs
“Each day more people are coming to us looking for assistance. We need more support and change amidst growing food insecurity. With partners like Project Bread, we can expand our programs and reach more people who are asking for help getting the food and nutrition they need every day, thus providing community support while pushing for systemic change.”
Andrea Baez, Senior Branch Executive at the Demakes Family YMCA
Mill City Grows (MCG) is a food justice and urban agriculture organization based in Lowell, MA. MCG serves the Lowell community through urban farms, community and school gardens, mobile markets and a CSA program, and community education and advocacy.
The organization has been awarded the first of two annual installments of $30,000 to support its commitment to eradicating hunger in Massachusetts.
The funding will allow MCG to:
Invest in the Community Food Partnership of Lowell (CFP), a local food policy council
Host community forums for food advocacy within the council
Break down barriers to accessing food benefits by doubling the number of registered SNAP Outreach Partners in Lowell