Our Policy Work

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governor healey visits hajjar elementary school in billerica after signing School Meals for All funding

Policy change is the most impactful solution to address hunger

Project Bread understands that hunger can't be solved through stop-gap measures. Instead, our work seeks to provide sustainable, scalable solutions that permanently move the needle on ending hunger.

The Latest

Together, we made School Meals for All permanent in Massachusetts!

After 2 and a half years of advocacy, Governor Healey and the Massachusetts Legislature made a historic investment and commitment to solving childhood hunger by making School Meals for All permanent for over 900,000 Massachusetts children!!

Project Bread launched & led the Feed Kids Coalition advocacy campaign in January 2021 with the dream of making school meals free for all K-12 students. Through the tireless advocacy and persistence of the Feed Kids coalition and Project Bread’s Action Team, we succeeded in ending child hunger at school in Massachusetts - permanently.

Massachusetts has joined California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont, and Michigan in recognizing that the impact of permanent, free school meals goes beyond the cafeteria. Providing universal meals for all breaks down the barriers to access and stigma surrounding hunger, and leaves students fed and ready for the future.

Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread stands along with Representative Andres X. Vargas, next to a large poster advertising Universal Free School Meals featuring Governor Maura Healey's signature Starts Line

Action Center

Your legislators need to hear from you ⁠— let them know you want them to support these key bills or urgent policy actions to ensure equitable food access in Massachusetts by completing the action alerts below.


    Urge Congress to Protect Children and Infants at Risk of Hunger!

    Over 114,105 women and children statewide depend on The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program for daily access to critical nutrition and healthcare resources. Please urge your congressperson to support WIC by securing the funding it needs!

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  • School Meals for All

    Thank Governor Healey and the Legislature for Making School Meals for All Permanent in Massachusetts

    Join us in celebrating the passage of permanent School Meals for All by thanking Governor Healey and the MA Legislature for their investment in feeding kids.

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Our State Policy Priorities

Current Initiatives

  • 01.

    School Meals for All - PASSED

    The Feed Kids Coaltiion, led by Project Bread, succesfully advocated to make School Meals for All permanent in Massachusetts. Now every child will be able to continue receiving meals without worrying about cost or stigma.

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  • 02.

    Increase Access to Fresh Produce

    Launched in 2017, the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) allows SNAP recipients to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers. While the program has been a tremendous success, to date it has only been authorized through the state budget. An Act Relative to an Agricultural Healthy Incentives Program (H.150/S.85) would create a permanent program to ensure the program’s long-term sustainability. Project Bread has joined the Campaign for HIP Funding Coalition to advocate for this essential program’s permanency.

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  • 03.

    Hunger-Free College Campuses

    According to the most recent data, 37% of public university students in Massachusetts experience food insecurity. Project Bread has joined the Hunger-Free College Campus Coalition to support An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative (H.1293/S.835) which would provide capacity, guidance, and funding to public colleges and not-for-profit institutions of higher education take steps to alleviate food insecurity on campus.

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  • 04.

    Basic Needs Assistance for Massachusetts Immigrant Residents

    This bill expands the access to nutrition and cash assistance programs to include immigrants lawfully residing within the U.S. An Act Establishing Basic Needs Assistance for Massachusetts Immigrant Residents (H.135/S.76) addresses inequality of existing federal SNAP rules, which prohibit many legally present immigrants from receiving benefits for five years. This legislation would allow immigrants to receive benefits regardless of their type of legal residency or duration. Project Bread has joined the Feeding Our Neighbors Coalition to call for equity in these critical programs.

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Our Federal Policy Priorities

Current Initiatives

  • 01.

    2023 Farm Bill

    Every five years, federal lawmakers pass a Farm Bill. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2018 and expires this September. It includes funding for critical anti-hunger programs, including SNAP. Utilizing our direct experience with SNAP, Project Bread has drafted a series of 2023 Farm Bill recommendations for policymakers that center on protecting and strengthening SNAP.

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We recognize that communities and people of color are disproportionately impacted by hunger because systemic racism leads to economic inequity and health disparities.

As part of our efforts to eradicate hunger, we advocate for both state and federal policy change to expand food access and program eligibility, clarify misconceptions about receiving support.

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Join our Action Team

Our success comes from our engaged supporters. Sign up to receive action alerts to impact change and hunger policy updates to stay informed, including our biweekly news round-up, The Hunger Advocate.

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Our history of success

Explore the timeline below to see our how our research and advocacy has led to enduring change across the state to permenantly remove barriers to food access and reduce food insecurity in Massachusetts.

Community Action


The Walk for Hunger

Patrick Hughes led the first Walk for Hunger from the Paulist Center in downtown Boston. An estimated 2,000 people walked 29.6 miles, raising $26,000 to help fund two hunger projects. The first pledge walk in the country, the Walk had two purposes: raise funds to help people experiencing hunger and stand together for social justice and social change that would eventually eliminate hunger. This is still true today and continues to be an annual force for change. 

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Child Nutrition


Child Nutrition Outreach Program

Conducted the first evidence-based study of hunger among low-income families in the state in 1991 with the MA Department of Public Health and the MA Anti-Hunger Coalition, called the Childhood Community Hunger Identification Project (CCHIP). The findings of this study led to the creation of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program —a parternship between Project Bread and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to support school meal programs and help children access healthy meals during the school year and summers.

a boy smiling, wearing a Summer Eats t-shirt in Worcester at a meal site Starts Line

Child Nutrition


Universal School Breakfast

Project Bread sponsored a study, conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, that proved that children who ate breakfast at school were more likely to do well in math, have fewer absences, and require fewer trips to the school nurse. This work led to the bipartisan adoption Universal Breakfast in low-income schools throughout the state, which provides breakfast free of charge to all students regardless of household income.

Elementary school student eating breakfast in the classroom in Amherst Starts Line

Child Nutrition


Direct certification for free school meals

Piloted a collaboration between state agencies, called the Child Nutrition Access Project, that automatically enrolled children receiving SNAP into the free and reduced-price school meals program, reducing the need for multiple applications. This program is now statewide and enrolls hundreds of thousands of children for free school meals each year.

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Equitable Access


Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)

Teamed up with the MA Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to launch the state-wide Healthy Incentives Program, which helps low-income housholds use their SNAP benefits to shop at farmer's markets and local vendors to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. 

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Child Nutrition


Breakfast After the Bell

Project Bread played a critical role in ensuring that the Rise and Shine Coalition’s Breakfast After the Bell legislation — An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell — was successfully passed. Beginning in school year 2022-2023, all students who attend a school in which 60% or more of their students are eligible for free or reduced price school meals will be required to offer breakfast after the bell to all students.

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Child Nutrition


Addressing school meal debt

Project Bread was instrumental in the passage of An Act Promoting Student Nutrition, a bill that addresses both the root causes of unpaid meal debt as well as the impact unpaid meal debt has on students — prohibiting schools from certain meal debt collection practices that involves or penalizes the student. Alongside our partners at the MA Law Reform Institute, Project Bread was a champion of this bill, helping draft legislative language, providing data and research, and mobilizing advocates leading to this bill becoming law. 

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Child Nutrition


Universal School Meals Extended for 2022-23 School Year

Thanks to continued advocacy efforts by the Feed Kids Coalition and Project Bread, Governor Baker signed a 1 year extension of School Meals for All through the 2022-2023 school year! This means that there is no cost to families for any student to receive school breakfast or lunch for the school year. Massachusetts is 1 of only 6 states in the nation to take this step forward. This momentous accomplishment could not have been possible without the tireless advocacy and organizing from Project Bread, our partners and bill sponsors Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Andy Vargas.

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Child Nutrition


Permanent School Meals for All

The Feed Kids Coalition, led by Project Bread, and bill sponsors Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Andy Vargas filed legislation, An Act Relative to Universal School Meals in 2021 to make School Meals for All, or universal school meals, a reality in Massachusetts. Over 4,200 individuals contacted their legislators over 18,000 times resulting over two-thirds of the Massachusetts Legislature signing onto this policy. Noticing the impact on schools and families across the Commonwealth and this groundswell of support, the Massachusetts House of Representative included permanent School Meals for All in its budget. On August 9, 2023, Governor Healey signed the budget into law making Massachusetts the 8th state to make School Meals for All permanent!

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